Second-half comeback not enough as Flashes fall to Loyola


Senior guard Kris Brewer protects the ball from Loyola University in the M.A.C. Center on Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014. The Flashes lost, 69-61.

Ray Strickland

Box Score

The Kent State men’s basketball team suffered its second straight home loss Saturday inside the M.A.C. Center, falling 69-61 to Loyola University Chicago after trailing by 18 points in the first half. 

The Flashes put themselves in a huge deficit early on in the game. The Ramblers (4-1) led by as much as 10 midway through the first half and led 40-22 at the break.

Loyola made it tough for the Flashes (4-2) on the offensive side of the ball. Kent State shot 39 percent from the field on 23-of-59 shooting. The Flashes also couldn’t seem to find their touch from the free throw line, shooting a sundry 7-for-16 (44 percent). 

“The team that deserved to win, won,” Kent State coach Rob Senderoff said. “They played harder than we did. I put that 100 percent on me. We were not ready to play ,and I’m not happy about it, but we’ll move on, we got to get better and we have to learn from this.”

Redshirt senior Derek Jackson offered an explanation for the Flashes’ sluggish play throughout the first half.

“I just think we didn’t come out focused on the defensive end,” Jackson said. “We have to find a way to play better at the beginning of the game. I don’t know what I got to do. Maybe the seniors have to motivate them better or some people have to get in the gym early. But we have to figure out a way to start these games off better.”

Kent State redshirt sophomore Jimmy Hall, who has been the Flashes most productive player, had a “un-Hall” like performance. Hall made five of his 10 field goal attempts, finishing with a season low 10 points and six rebounds. Hall is averaging 16 points per game and 7 rebounds per game on the season.

It was evident from the start that the Flashes were going to need someone to step up to help Hall, but Kent State was unable to generate any offense like it has in previous games this season. Most of the team’s offensive woes could be attributed to its inability to stop the Ramblers.

Hall said he was upset with himself after he and his teammates missed a number of easy looks inside.

“We put it 100 percent on us,” Hall said. “I’m upset, but we’ll have to learn from it.”

The Ramblers’ patience and poise handling the ball kept the Flashes on their toes. Loyola shot more than 50 percent from the field while shooting an impressive 7 for 13 from beyond the arc. They also collected 17 assists along with 24 successful field goal attempts. 

The Flashes were a completely different team at the the start of the second half. Kent State outscored Loyola, 13-2 to start the second half, trimming the lead to 42-35 with 15:25 left to play. Hall hit a jumper with 5:45 left on the clock to get his team within four.

Jeff White scored eight-straight points for Loyola in the final three minutes.

White finished with 13 points, and Montel James added 11 and eight rebounds to the mix.

Jackson led the Flashes with 12 points, and junior Chris Ortiz and Hall chipped in 10 points apiece.

In the end, though, the come-from-behind effort fell short, and the Flashes lost their second game of the season.

Senderoff said this was a game the team was supposed to win. He said after the game that he will be looking at possible lineup changes because of the inconsistency in the Flashes’ effort and focus.

“We have to come out the gate playing with a bit more purpose,” Senderoff said. “I’ve got to make some changes. I’ll look at the film and go from there.”

Contact Ray Strickland at [email protected].