Hall and Spicer’s second half not enough as turnovers plague Flashes


Guard Galal Cancer shoots the go-ahead free throw to give Kent State the win against Northern Illinois University on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016 at the M.A.C. Center.

Dan Armelli

The Kent State basketball team knew how to beat Eastern Michigan: They had done so earlier in the season after a dominating second half, even after they turned the ball over 18 times.

Coming into their rematch with Kent State, the Eagles led the MAC in steals with 9.8 per game and turnover margin at +3.58. If the Flashes took better care of the ball this time around, another win over EMU would be almost certain.

That’s why the Flashes losing 75-70 and failing to 16-9 after only turning the ball over thee times in the second half didn’t make much sense.

It was the 12 turnovers in the first half that put the Flashes in an eight-point hole going into halftime.

“I think there were way too many unforced turnovers in the first half,” head coach Rob Senderoff said. “It’s something that’s plagued us the last two or three weeks. It seemed to get corrected in the second half. We can’t do that every game and expect to have positive outcomes.”

The Flashes, who are second in the MAC in rebounding margin at +4.7, surprisingly had trouble on the boards as well.  

“(Making the hustle plays) has been a formula of success for us,” Senderoff said. “When we do a great job with that, we win more times than not. When we get out-rebounded and give up 19 offensive rebounds in a game, it’s going to be difficult for us to win.”

After combining for just five points in the first half, forwards Jimmy Hall and Khaliq Spicer were able to go off for a combined 31 points in the second half.

However, Senderoff likened Hall to a point guard, saying that the team needs him to have more assists than turnovers in order to put the Flashes in a better position to win.  

“Last time we played Eastern Michigan, (Hall had) five assists and one turnover,” Senderoff said. “He had a positive assist-to-turnover ratio and we won. I don’t know if he feels like he has to do too much or not… Jimmy certainly has a lot on his plate in terms of what we’re asking him to do. But he’s got to do a better job for us to win.”

Redshirt junior guard Kellon Thomas joined Hall and Spicer as the only Flashes to score double-digits with his 12 points. The Flashes shot better than the Eagles by almost four percent, holding EMU to 1-14 from the three-point line.

However, the Eagles’ nine-shot and 11-free throw advantage made the difference.

“We know what we need to do to win,” Senderoff said. “We have to rebound, defend and take care of the basketball. That’s been the case the whole season. We’re 16-9. We’ve done it more often than not. But of late, when you look at our statistics, we haven’t done that as well.”

Kent State will be back at home to face Western Michigan at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the M.A.C. Center.

Dan Armelli is a sports reporter for The Kent Stater, contact him at [email protected].