Season-high 24 turnovers, Walker’s continued struggles leads to blowout loss at Buffalo

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Anthony Roberts leads the Flashes in a fast break during the first half against Miami University on Feb. 5. 

Ian Kreider

A 15-2 run by Buffalo over the final two minutes of the first half and the first three minutes of the second half decided the outcome of Kent State’s MAC East battle against the Bulls Friday. Buffalo’s Nick Perkins scored eight of his game-high 29 points over the run, including a three-pointer at the first half buzzer that gave the Bulls a 35-27 lead.

Buffalo went on to win 80-57.

“That was on us,” Kent State coach Rob Senderoff said.  “We screwed some stuff up late. When you make mistakes they capitalize. When (Buffalo) smells blood they’re like sharks in the water. Those two things are their greatest attributes as a team.”

The Flashes are now 19-8 and 8-6 in the Mid-American Conference.  The Bulls grabbed the top spot in the MAC with the win and currently sit at 24-3 with a record of 11-2 in conference play.

Kent State’s 24 turnovers are their most in any game this season.

“We never turn the ball over 24 times,” Senderoff said. “You have to look at yourself in the mirror on a couple of those and ask, ‘What did I do that allowed me to have X number of turnovers?’”

Senior guard Jaylin Walker scored 10 points in the first half, but was limited to two points on 0-for-6 shooting in the second half. He also failed to make a three for the second game in a row for the first time since the final two games of his freshman season.

“He has to stay in the gym and keep shooting,” Senderoff said of Walker. “We have to find ways to get him an easy basket. The game’s really hard for him and some of that he has to work on. But we have to do a better job making it easier for him. He’ll battle his way out of it. I have no doubt whatsoever.”

Senior guard Jalen Avery played for the first time since sustaining an ankle sprain on Feb. 8 in the Flashes 72-53 loss to Akron. He failed to score, finishing 0-for-3 from the field in 27 minutes. It was the first time he was held scoreless since Jan. 14 2017 against Western Michigan.

“He only practiced once,” Senderoff said. “This was a tough game to throw him into in his first game in two weeks. I was supposed to play him 25 minutes, but when Anthony and Antonio fouled out I didn’t have another point guard. He’s playing on one and a half feet right now. I’ll go down with him 100 nights out of 100.”

Junior guard Antonio Williams added a team-high 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting. Freshman guard Anthony Roberts finished with 13 points on 6-for-11 shooting. Both Williams and Roberts fouled out in the second half. The Flashes scored three points after Williams fouled out with about five minutes left.

“Our hope is that we get a chance to play them again,” Senderoff said. “For 35 minutes at Kent you would have looked at the teams and not seen much of a difference, and for 19 minutes at Buffalo and you would not have seen much of a difference either.”

Kent State plays its next game against Ohio at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the M.A.C. Center. The Bobcats snapped a six-game losing streak with a 92-87 overtime win against Bowling Green on Friday.

 

Ian Kreider is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected]