Men’s basketball rolls over UIC in 78-60 win

Ray Strickland

The Kent State men’s basketball team turned in yet another dominant performance inside the M.A.C. Center on Saturday, as the Flashes won big to improve to 4-0 on the season.

The Flashes defeated the University of Illinois-Chicago, 78-60, with ten different players scoring in the game. Kent State also had four different starters all score in double figures.

Redshirt senior Derek Jackson recorded a team-high 17 points with three huge three-pointers. Jackson shot 6 for 7 from the field, while also going 3 for 4 from three-point range.

“We really shared the ball good,” Jackson said in the postgame press conference. “I think we are playing with a better team mindset right now. We’re playing tough. We’re playing Kent State basketball.”

Senior sharpshooter Devareaux Manley added 15 points, connecting on five out of eight threes in the ball game. Senior Kris Brewer and redshirt sophomore Jimmy Hall collected 14 and 10 points, respectively.

In a six-minute stretch in the game, the Flashes outscored UIC, 23-6 to gain a 33-17 lead. From that point forward, the Flashes controlled the majority of game.

Manley hit four of his five threes in the first half to provide the Flashes a 47-29 lead at half.  The Flashes were clicking on all cylinders, with nine different players scoring in the first half alone.

Three-point shooting was one of the key ingredients for the Flashes’ 18-point victory. Kent State shot 50% from three-point range, converting 7-of-13 three-point field goal attempts in the first half.

Kent State finished with a season-low seven turnovers, while the bench contributed 29 points of the team’s 78 points.

The Flashes also had another impressive defensive performance, holding UIC to just 35.3 percent shooting (18 for 51) from the field. Kent State also hustled and communicating well on defense, forcing the Flames to shoot 15.1 percent (2 for 13) from beyond the arc.

“If we can continue to defend like that, we will have a chance to win a lot of games,” Kent State coach Rob Senderoff said. “If we can guard like that and make it hard for guys to get open threes and make guys have to play one-on-one, we have a good chance to win.

“Derek (Jackson) was phenomenal on defense,” Senderoff said. “Yesterday the kid he guarded was averaging 24 per game before he came in here, and he had 11 points and four turnovers.”

While the Flashes were dominating the game from the parameter, Hall and junior Khlaiq Spicer battled down low, trying to slow down Illinois-Chicago’s power forward Jake Wiegand, who racked up 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting with nine rebounds.

The Flashes, who are playing some of their best basketball right now, will advance to the final game of the Men Against Breast Cancer Classic against Yale on Sunday. Kent will take on Yale at 3:30 inside the M.A.C. Center for the fourth game of the current five-game home stand.

Contact Ray Strickland at [email protected].