Men’s basketball bounced from MAC tournament by rival Akron

Stephen Means II

After winning in thrilling fashion over the same team six days prior, Kent State lost its first Mid-American Conference tournament game, a quarterfinal appearance, to the University of Akron, 53-51.

Senior guard Kris Brewer missed on two opportunities to win the game: first a missed layup, then a pullup jump shot.

With one final opportunity to win the game, Brewer fumbled the ball on the baseline to senior guard Devareaux Manley, who managed to go for a wide-open three. Though the three-pointer went in, officials ruled it as no good, saying it was released after the final buzzer sounded.

Kent State came into this game riding high after beating the Zips on Friday in a game-winning fashion. But according to coach Rob Senderoff, Thursday night proved the ball just didn’t fall in their favor.

“Last week (the ball) hit every part of the rim and dropped and gave us the win at the buzzer,” Senderoff said. “This time, it just didn’t go in. Tonight they made one more play than us.”

Redshirt sophomore Jimmy Hall led the way for the Flashes with 14 points and eight rebounds. Senior guard Derek Jackson added 12 points.

Hall seemed disappointed in how the team finished but was more concerned about seniors Brewer, Jackson and Manley, who played in their final collegiate game.

“I think we let one get away but we just got to remember this for next year,” Hall said. “I wish we could’ve done it for the seniors but they played a great year, we just got to remember this.”

Akron junior forward Pat Forsythe, who missed last game with turf toe, led the way for the Zips with 12 points. Freshmen guard Antino Jackson added 11 points and sophomore center Isaiah Johnson had 10.

The Flashes finish the season with a 21-11 (12-6 MAC) record and a share of the regular season MAC championship. The team will not only lose Brewer, Jackson and Manley to graduation, but also Craig Brown and Blake Vedder to graduation.

On the bright side, Kent State does have a bright future ahead of them. The Flashes will return leading scorer and rebounder Hall, along with junior Kaliq Spicer, who was one of the MAC’s leaders in blocks.

Junior Gary Akbar Jr. and sophomore Marquiez Lawrence will also see more time next season.

In the backcourt, Kellon Thomas will return to the floor after missing most of the season with a orbital bone fracture.

Transfers Deon Edwin (Laramie County C.C., Wyoming), Xavier Pollard (Maine) and Marvin Jones (Highland C.C., Illinois) will also be eligible to play next season.

Contact Stephen Means at [email protected].