Men’s basketball dominates Miami thanks to trio of senior forwards

The big men of the Kent State men’s basketball team proved dominant against the University of Miami today, as the Flashes won 64-51.

Kent State (15-6, 12-5 Mid-American Conference) controlled the paint on both ends of the court, finding points inside easily while keeping Miami (11-10, 8-8 MAC) off the boards.

The Flashes outrebounded the RedHawks 45-27 and grabbed 13 offensive boards compared to just six from Miami.

Those offensive rebounds led to 20 second-chance points and helped Kent State outscore Miami 34 to 18 in the paint.

All three of Kent State’s double-digit scorers were forwards, led by senior Tervell Beck, who had a double-double made up of a pair of season highs. Beck’s 19 points and 12 rebounds were both best of the team as well as his best numbers all season.

The Cleveland native also had three assists and a block while shooting a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line.

Danny Pippen, one of the best big men in the MAC, bounced back from his worst game of the season against Ball State with 10 points in the first half. The senior forward finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double of his own, his ninth of the season. 

Fellow senior forward Justyn Hamilton had 14 points, seven rebounds and a block.

Kent State’s defense made the RedHawks uncomfortable all game, as Miami repeatedly found an offensive rhythm but could not manage to sustain it.

While Kent State’s guards took a back seat in scoring, they were critical to the Flashes’ smooth ball movement and tenacious defense.

Junior guard Malique Jacobs led Kent State with four assists while adding four points of his own, six rebounds and a steal.

Sophomore guard Giovanni Santiago put forward the highly efficient stat line which has become the norm for him, with eight points, four rebounds and three assists against just one turnover.

Miami shot 34.5 percent from the field and struggled to move the ball inside through the Kent State defense. The RedHawks tried to overcome that with shooting from the outside, but their 8 of 25 three point shooting was not enough.

Dae Dae Grant, Miami’s leading scorer this season, was held to just two points, while Myja White emerged to lead the RedHawks with 14 points.

Miami’s forwards were utterly dominated on the boards by Kent State, with no Miami big man grabbing more than five rebounds.

This win was a crucial recovery to a Kent State team which was blown out 91-70 on Wednesday by Ball State University. 

The Flashes have already clinched a spot in the MAC Tournament in Cleveland, while Miami remains on the bubble, but would make the tournament if it started today.

Kent State will play its final home game and celebrate senior night on Tuesday, March 2 against Ohio University. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.

Owen MacMillan is a sports editor. Contact him at [email protected].