Men’s basketball handles business against Ohio Christian

Kent State junior center Adonis De La Rosa receives a foul as he drives to the basket against Ohio Christian Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017.

Cameron Hoover

Good teams win the games they are supposed to.

Kent State (2-0) embodied that phrase Thursday night with a 90-45 win over NAIA opponent Ohio Christian (2-4).

Four Flashes scored in double figures. Kevin Zabo led the way with 15 points. Adonis De La Rosa continued his strong start with 14 points and 12 rebounds, his second career double-double.

Junior guard Jaylin Walker continued his hot shooting streak with 13 points on 4 of 6 shooting, including 3 for 4 from three-point range. Junior guard Taishaun Johnson added nine points.

Coach Rob Senderoff said it can be hard as a team to play a game with such a wide talent gap, and his team could have played better. He reiterated he would’ve preferred to have played this game at a different point in the season, but the schedule didn’t allow for it.

“It’s still early in the season, and a lot of guys are still trying to figure out roles,” Senderoff said. “You’re out there trying to prove you should be one of the main guys, and sometimes you do a little bit too much. These games are difficult to play when you get a big lead. We didn’t play great in the first half.”

“It is what it is, and you move on,” he continued. “We’ll need to play better Sunday.”

Senderoff still saw some positive signs from the game.

“There are a lot of guys who are playing better and practicing better and developing pretty good habits,” Senderoff said, specifically mentioning Danny Pippen.

Pippen had 10 points and three rebounds for the Flashes. He also blocked three shots for the second straight game.

Despite what some would consider a throwaway home game early in the schedule, Zabo reiterated the game served an important purpose.

“We try to come in and play hard just like it’s any other game,” the senior guard said. “These are the kind of games where we have to build good habits. We try not to build any bad habits. Coach keeps reminding us defensively and offensively to execute, be disciplined and do all the little things that are going to help us against good teams.”

De La Rosa said he feels more comfortable this year compared to last. The 7-foot junior center is averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds through his first two games stepping into the shoes of recently graduated Jimmy Hall.

“I’m feeling great,” De La Rosa said. “I wouldn’t say it’s just a thing I’ve conquered by myself; it’s an all-around effort. I’m getting good looks from some of the guys. It’s a whole team thing. I’m just happy to be in the position I’m in right now.”

De La Rosa said he feels like his all-around game took a huge jump this offseason, adding he feels “lighter on his feet” and “doesn’t have as much weight to carry around.”

Senderoff said the game was a good opportunity to see certain players get more minutes in preparation for tougher competition.

“I wanted to see Kevin get more minutes because he hadn’t played a ton,” Senderoff said. “It was good to see that, and I really wanted to make sure Adonis played 20 minutes minimum because he still has to prove that he can compete at a high level for longer periods of time and sustain his effort.”

The game could prove to be a good indicator of who will receive more minutes moving forward.

“We’ve got to figure out a rotation and see who can help us consistently,” Senderoff said.

The Flashes return to the court at 3 p.m. Sunday at the M.A.C. Center to take on Mississippi Valley State.

Cameron Hoover is the sports reporter, contact him at [email protected].