Men’s Basketball falls to Bowling Green in MAC tournament first round

(from left) Freshman Griffin Rath, sophomore Nick Larson, freshman Seth Ference, sophomore Matt Grissom and sophomore Michael Parker celebrate in the student section as Kent State scores against BGSU in the M.A.C. Center on Monday, Mar. 7, 2016.

Zac Sommer

The Kent State University men’s basketball team let up a seven-point lead at the start of the second half as the No. 5 seeded Flashes lost 70-69 to No. 12 seeded Bowling Green State University in the first round of the Mid-American Conference tournament Monday.

Bowling Green scored 11 unanswered points in the start of the second-half, ending Kent State’s season at the M.A.C. Center Monday night.

“Tough way for the season to end,” coach Rob Senderoff said. “We talked about having to have a good start at the second half. Once they started the run and had a two-point lead, at that point we knew it was going to be a game. Nobody wants their season to end. They made some big plays and we couldn’t get stops.”

Kent State trailed the Falcons 69-66 with three seconds remaining, but redshirt junior Kellon Thomas lost control of the ball as the Falcons regained possession with three seconds left in the game, taking a 70-69 win.

“He was pushing the ball and just lost it,” Senderoff said. “It’s an unfortunate play. The guys are trying to make plays, Kellon is trying to make a play and I think he hesitated a little bit and just lost it out of bounds.”

Senior Chris Ortiz scored 18 points, adding 12 rebounds while Thomas also finished with 18 points and five assists.

Senderoff said when senior guard Xavier Pollard and freshman guard Jaylin Walker were injured in January was when the team started to struggle.

“We struggled ever since Xavier and Jaylin Walker got hurt,” Senderoff said. “We’ve won most of our games at home, but couldn’t win on the road since those guys got hurt. Tonight we didn’t win at home and it was a tough way for the season to end.”