Thall’s career-high not enough against Ohio

Junior Megan Carter dribbles during the second half of Kent State’s matchup against Ohio University on Feb. 23 2019. Kent State lost, 69-67.

Gina Butkovich

In the end, it was another comeback attempt that fell short.

Megan Carter’s potential game-tying shot was blocked with two seconds left as Kent State fell to Ohio University 69-67 on Saturday. It was the Flashes second two point loss to Ohio this season.

Carter held the ball for 20 seconds near half court. With less than 10 seconds to go, she drove from just to the right of the key to the foul lane. Three Bobcats closed in, and Gabby Burris blocked Carter’s seven-foot shot.

“I drew everybody,” Carter said of her final shot. “I probably should have kicked it out to (Alexa Golden). That would have been the better play.”

Coach Todd Starkey said he wants the ball in Carter’s hands at a time like that.

“What she really needs to do in that case is drive to attack right away,” coach Todd Starkey said. “She just didn’t make the right read there, but we want the ball in her hands in that situation every time. More than half the time, she is going to make the right decision”

Carter’s jump shot was the 30th two-point shot that Kent State missed during the game. The Flashes have the worst two-point percentage in the MAC at 39 percent but are second in the MAC in three-point percentage at 35 percent. They shot 11-for-25 from long range against Ohio.

“We got to have some people who can make some gritty baskets around the baskets and high percentage shots,” Starkey said. “Right now we are struggling to get that done.”

The Flashes are 15-10 and 8-6 in the Mid-American Conference, while second-place Ohio improved to 22-3 and 11-3. The Flashes sit in a tie for fifth, a game behind Buffalo in the chase for a first round bye in the MAC tournament, which starts in two weeks.

Freshman forward Lindsey Thall had a career-high 22 points and a career-best 6-for-8 on three-pointers. She finished 7-for-10 from the field.

“I think I just got the hot hand,” Thall said. “They tell me to ‘hunt my shot down,’ so that’s what I tried to do in the second half. But we have got to be a lot more connected defensively. We can’t dig ourselves a hole.”  

Carter was the only other Flash in double-figures with 18 points.

Ohio started the game with a 14-3 run but the Flashes pulled within 44-36 at halftime. In the fourth quarter, Kent State held Ohio to 10 points. With a little more than a minute left, Thall hit a fading, off-balance layup to tie the game at 67. Aamani Burke scored on a layup 30 seconds later to give the Bobcats the lead.

For Starkey, Saturday was another example of the Flashes failing to put together four quarters of solid basketball.

“We’re better than the way we played in the first half,” Starkey said. “The fight’s great, but at some point you have to come out on the right side against good teams. The time for talking about youth, growing up and the learning curve is over.”

“There’s four games left in the season and then the tournament, so we either have to do it or we don’t.”

In January, Ohio beat KSU 83-81 in a game where the Flashes scored scored 31 points in the first half before exploding for 50 in the second.

The Flashes play first-place Miami at 7 p.m. in the M.A.C. Center.

 Gina Butkovich is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected].