Newcomers key in home blowout

Junior guard Mitch Peterson plays defense against Alcorn State at the M.A.C. Center on Nov. 18, 2018.

Junior guard C.J. Williamson and junior forward Philip Whittington proved to be the difference makers for Kent State (2-1) early in the first half of their Sunday night matchup against Alcorn State, as the two helped the team avoid a slow start en route to a 79-48 win.

Williamson and Whittington started a combined 7-for-8, and scored the Flashes first 16 points. During that span the rest of the team shot 0-for-9.

The Flashes also moved the ball well, finishing the half with 12 assists.

“(Last game) we may have set a record, but we tied a record at the very worst for least amount of assists in a half,” coach Rob Senderoff said. “We watched film and we went over it. I thought tonight we made a really concerted effort to share the basketball and make the extra pass.”

Another big reason the Flashes were able to come away with the win was a 20-0 run that included holding the Braves (1-3) scoreless for nearly eight minutes in the first half. The run extended the Kent State lead to 32-11 with 4:30 left in the half.

“Defensively I thought we were pretty good,” Senderoff said. “We ended up with 10 steals, and caused them to have 22 turnovers in the game with five blocks. I think we were more locked in to what we needed to do defensively, and in doing that it was disruptive to Alcorn State, and it allowed us to get out in transition.”

The Flashes held Alcorn State to just 33 percent shooting from the field. Senior forward Akiean Fredrick was a big part of the defense’s success, as he finished with a game-high two blocks and two steals.

Senior guard Jalen Avery continued to lead the offense, only this time it was in the role of the facilitator. He finished with a team-high six assists, while only turning the ball over once.

“I thought he did a great job,” Senderoff said. “When you’re scoring as many points as he has been and playing as well as he has been to pass up some good shots to get other guys going is the type of leader Jalen is. I thought he played as well as he’s played in any of the games even though he scored the least of the game’s he has played.”

Eight of the 11 Flashes who logged minutes scored. The three newcomers: Williamson, Whittington and junior guard Antonio Williams combined for 46 of the team’s 79 points.

Kent State will continue to rely on them for production as they continue their season against Savannah State (2-3) Tuesday at 7 p.m. inside the M.A.C. Center.

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