Poor shooting by KSU gives Akron a men’s basketball sweep

Kent State men’s basketball was unable to overcome a poor shooting performance against the University of Akron at the M.A.C. Center as the Flashes fell to the Zips 72-61. 

Despite a comeback run late in the second half, Kent was not able to answer the call when it came to shooting from the field. 

In a battle of two of the top field goal shooting teams in the Mid-American Conference, the Flashes shot 34.8 percent from the floor and 6-27 from behind the three point arc.

Akron’s lead was powered by a 21-5 run in the final seven minutes of the first half. 

“Everything went wrong,” coach Rob Senderoff said. “We didn’t play very well in the first half obviously that goes without saying. I didn’t even think [Akron] played all that well in the first half. They had about a five minute stretch where they made some shots. We need to be better.”

Kent shot 19 percent in the first half. Senderoff said his team played “tentative” and “scared” in the first half. 

“I think if we played the Cavs we would shoot more than 19 percent,” he said.

Kent was without their junior Justyn Hamilton as he missed the game with a back issue, in the Flashes’ second game since losing star point guard senior Mike Nuga. 

Akron was led by junior Bryan Trimble Jr. with 26 points, and senior Loren Cristian Jackson who finished with 21. 

Despite Akron’s big halftime lead, the Flashes were able to make it a close game down the stretch. 

With 2:44 left in the game, junior James Jordan knocked down a three to make it a ten point game with 2:42 remaining. Then sophomore Giovanni Santiago made a layup, followed by a three point play at the rim from senior Danny Pippen to make it 66-61 Zips with 1:50 remaining. 

The comeback fell short as Akron went on to win at the M.A.C. Center for the first time since 2017. 

Kent State falls to 10-5 (7-4 MAC), and is third in the MAC standings. Akron is now comfortably second in the standings, they are 11-4 (9-3). 

As for the status of  Junior Justyn Hamilton, Rob Sendeoff said after the game he doesn’t know if he will be ready for the flashes next game. Kent State will be on the road at Bowling Green StateUniversity to play the Falcons on Tuesday, Feb. 9.

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