Ohio hits a flurry of threes, Kent crumbles late

Kent+State+senior+forward+Jordan+Korinek%2C+Ball+State+junior+guard+Carmen+Grande+and+senior+guard+Frannie+Frazier+battle+for+a+loose+ball+Saturday%2C+Jan.+20%2C+2018.+Ball+State+went+on+to+win%2C+79-58.

Kent State senior forward Jordan Korinek, Ball State junior guard Carmen Grande and senior guard Frannie Frazier battle for a loose ball Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. Ball State went on to win, 79-58.

Ian Kreider

Kent State (11-14, 4-9 Mid-American Conference) lost Wednesday’s game, 78-65, because of its defense’s inability to stop Ohio (13-10, 7-5 MAC) from beyond the arc.

Ohio simply had too much firepower, and it was put to good use in the form of isolation offense. The Bobcats had four players in double-digits, and three of those players had 15 or more points. They also each shot 50 percent from the field. Sophomore guard Amani Burke led the way with 20 points, freshman guard Cierra Hooks had 16 points and freshman forward Gabby Burris finished with 15 points.

“They ran a lot of iso stuff for us and were able to get by us,” coach Todd Starkey said.

The Flashes trailed for most of the game. However, they went on a few runs to keep the game close.

The first was from sophomore guard Megan Carter on an and-one where she threw up a shot from the foul line as she fell to the ground. This cut the Bobcats lead to 28-17 with 8:41 remaining in the second quarter. Kent State gained momentum and cut the lead to 33-28 at the half.

The Flashes opened the half pressuring Ohio, forcing tough shots at the end of the shot clock. This resulted in a 40-37 Ohio lead with 5:00 left in the quarter. However, the Bobcats responded with good ball movement and timely threes to push the lead back to 54-48 at the end of the quarter.

“We were either trading baskets with them, where we were good offensively and they were good offensively, or we were good defensively and they were good defensively,” Starkey said. “We could never quite get ahead, and we’re not a team that plays great from behind anyway. We don’t have the offensive firepower.”

The Flashes had multiple players have an impact on the game, but senior forward Jordan Korinek and graduate student forward McKenna Stephens were the only double-digit scorers. Carter left her stamp on the game by facilitating the offense, as she finished with five assists and two turnovers.

“She (Carter) did a pretty good job, but she is still struggling a bit with over-penetrating, over-dribbling and getting herself into tight spots,” Starkey said. “I think overall she played well. She is too talented an offensive player to only have nine points.”

The rest of the team combined for just 21 points (7-for-23 from the field).

“We have to have two more consistent double-figure scorers other than Jordan,” Starkey said. “We have to have better balance in scoring.”

The Flashes only shot 10 threes (4-for-10). They normally average about 16 attempts from long range per game. However, they only are shooting at a 28.6 percent clip from behind the three-point line.

“I want the players who are capable of shooting threes to shoot threes, but I don’t want us out there jacking up shots because we’re also not a great offensive rebounding team,” Starkey said. “For teams that are as good in transition as Ohio is, long threes lead to long rebounds which lead to transition baskets.”

Kent State will get another chance at the Bobcats in two weeks in Athens Feb. 21.

The Flashes have a bye week, and their next game will be at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 17 at the M.A.C. Center as they take on Miami (OH) (15-9, 7-6 MAC). The Redhawks are coming off of a loss to Buffalo, which snapped a five-game winning streak.

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