Kent State uses aggressive play to beat Ohio for third straight win

Kent State’s men’s basketball team (6-3, 3-2 MAC) extended its winning streak to three with a 89-79 road win against the Ohio University Bobcats (7-6, 3-4 MAC) Saturday.

The Flashes shot 55 percent from the field and held the Bobcats to 26 points in the first half in Athens, Ohio. 

Kent outscored Ohio 50-22 in the paint. The Flashes out rebounded the Bobcats 45-21 and scored 18 second chance points compared to five for the Bobcats

“That’s a true indicator of us being the more physical and aggressive team and just continue to pound them on the glass,”  assistant coach Julian Sullinger said on the Kent State Radio postgame show.

Kent turned the ball over 15 times resulting in 15 Ohio points, but the transition defense only allowed four fast break points in the contest.

“OU does a really good job of getting out in transition and that’s something that we kind of struggle with,” Sullinger said. “Playing Central Michigan prior [to today] helped prepare us a little bit. We were able to show some film on some of the areas we lack in.”

The Flashes had four players in double figures: senior forward Danny Pippen with 22 points and eight rebounds, senior forward Tervell Beck with 18 points and five rebounds, senior guard Michael Nuga with a double-double consisting of 16 points and 10 rebounds and junior guard Malique Jacobs with 14 points and six rebounds. 

Pippen scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half after shooting just one of five in the first half. 

“Early in the game [OU] did a really good job of denying [Pippen]  and limiting his looks,” Sullinger said. “With that being said, it opened up a lot of avenues for other guys to get going. Beck ended up with 18 points and a lot of that has to do with a lot of attention on Danny.”

The Bobcats were led by redshirt junior forward Ben Vander Plas with 24 points and junior guard Jason Preston with a double double consisting of 23 points and 10 assists. 

Kent’s defense held OU to 42.9 percent shooting which is nearly six percent lower than the Bobcats usually average. The Flashes shot 57.4 percent on the afternoon which is 11 percent better than its overall average.

The Flashes next game is on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 5 p.m. at the M.A.C.C. against University at Buffalo (5-4, 3-2 MAC).

Kathryn is a sports reporter. Contact her at [email protected].