Flashes win home opener versus YSU

Kent State senior guard Xavier Pollard fights with Youngstown defenders for the loose ball during the Kent State vs Youngstown game on Nov. 14, 2015. The Golden Flashes won 79-70 to take their home opener.

Stephen Means II

Kent State men’s basketball (1-0) started its season out on a positive note in a 79-70 win over Youngstown State in the first game of the American Cancer Society Coaches vs. Cancer Doubleheader.

“It’s important to start the season off the right way and I thought we did that,” said coach Rob Senderoff. “ [I’m] proud of the effort. I thought everybody played hard to help us win the game.”

The Flashes never trailed in the game and led by as many as 13 points. 

Overall, the Flashes played 11 players in the game, all of whom had little to no experience playing college basketball in a Kent State jersey. The game was the season debut for six different players along with the return of junior guard Kellon Thomas. 

“It feels great to be back out there,” Thomas said. “Especially with the group we have out there. I love this team.”

Thomas led the way for the Flashes with a career high of 18 points while senior guard Xavier Pollard added 15 points off of the bench. 

Kent State’s starting front court junior Jimmy Hall, along with seniors Khaliq Spicer and Chris Ortiz, combined for 34 points and 34 rebounds.

“I think (Ortiz) played great,” Thomas said. “I think he played exactly how we expected him to… That’s what we need him to do to win.”

“If we’re able to win with (Hall) shooting 4-for-16 to me it’s almost a good sign,” Senderoff said. “If we were playing last year and he shot 4-for-16, I don’t know if we are winning any games.” 

Senior forward Bobby Hain led the Penguins with 20 points. Junior forward Matt Donlan added 15.

In the second game of the double header, Kent State rival Akron (1-0) bested Cleveland State (0-1), 65-53.

The Flashes will return to the court next Saturday, Nov. 21, when they travel to Carbondale, Illinois to take on Southern Illinois University. Tip-off is at 8 p.m.

Stephen Means is a sports reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].