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Khari Harley finishes a layup during Ohio’s game against Indiana Tech at The Convo. 

Men's Basketball: Ohio seeks 'revenge' when it hosts Kent State on Friday

Ohio's rematch with Kent State will be nationally televised.

Seven games into the Mid-American Conference season, most of the conference has struggled to separate itself as demonstrably better or worse than the rest of the league.

At the bottom of the conference is winless Miami (6-14, 0-7 MAC). At the top is one-loss Kent State (15-5, 6-1 MAC).

Around the middle, however, is Ohio (12-7, 3-4 MAC).

The Bobcats have a chance to narrow that gap Friday night when the Golden Flashes visit The Convo for a rematch of the teams' Jan. 16 meeting. Kent State defeated Ohio 89-82 in the first matchup. It will be Ohio’s first Friday night game of the season.

“I think we’ve made huge defensive improvements in the last two games,” Ohio forward Kenny Kaminski said. “It didn’t show quite as much in the Central Michigan game, but there were positives to take away from that. But this is a revenge game. The last game left a bad taste in our mouths, and the glory of MAC play is that now we get to play them again.”

Kaminski was one of the leaders in Ohio’s first chance at Kent State, scoring 21 points, 16 of which came in the first half, while grabbing eight boards.

Kaminski was the center of attention in the team’s most recent win too, when he scored a team-high 22 points in the Bobcats’ win at Toledo on Tuesday.

“(Beating Toledo) was huge,” Kaminski said. “One question we kept asking ourselves was ‘Can we win on the road?’ I keep telling these guys, I won a Big Ten championship at Michigan State, and you have to win on the road to win championships. So that’s the standard we hold ourselves to.”

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Ohio came up short in its first chance against Kent State when it surrendered big scoring runs in the second half.

Since the game, though, Kent State has taken on the challenge of separating itself in the conference by rattling off three more wins by eight, three and 15 points to take sole possession of first place in the MAC East.

“I think you just have to do what you do well,” Ohio coach Saul Phillips said. “With Kent, it’s so important that you don’t just give them points. It’s vitally important because they can just take them from you, they don’t need any help.”

A big difference from the last meeting will be the addition of freshman Jordan Dartis, who missed two games including the road trip to Kent State. Dartis returned for the loss to Central Michigan, but wasn’t able to make an impact again until the team’s trip to Toledo, when he scored nine points on three 3-pointers.

aw987712@ohio.edu

@_TonyWolfe_

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