Kent State outshoots BGSU, Pippen ties career high while surpassing 1,000 career points

Danny Pippen tied his career high of 34 points on Wednesday night in a 96-91 win over BGSU. In that same game, Pippen surpassed 1,000 career points at KSU. Jan. 27, 2020.

Senior forward Danny Pippen caught a pass a few feet above the top of the 3-point line and flicked the ball in a high arc, leaving his hand hanging at the top of his release.

The shot was good to give Kent State a one point lead and to put Pippen over 1,000 career points at Kent State as he led Kent State to victory over Bowling Green State University.

The Flashes won 96-91 at home in a game defined by outside shooting and physicality to improve to 5-3 in Mid-American Conference play and move up to third place in the league.

BGSU has now dropped three games in a row and is 10-6 (6-4) and falls to fourth place in the MAC.

Pippen’s three to move above 1,000 career points was his fourteenth of the game, but he certainly didn’t stop to enjoy the moment. Instead the Detroit native kept pushing to score 34, tying his career high which he set earlier this season.

Coach Rob Senderoff spoke about how excited he was for Pippen, who is the only player on Senderoff’s roster who has spent four years at Kent State and has worked through multiple knee injuries.

“For him being able to stay here for four years through all the stuff he’s been through I am happy for him and for his family,” Senderoff said. “I’m really happy for them and especially that he was able to do it tonight in a win, because I know winning is important to him.”

Pippen also led the Flashes in rebounds with 11 and blocks with two.

The offense as a whole was clicking, with three other players scoring in double-digits, 16 team assists and a season-high 46.4 shooting percentage from beyond the arc.

The Flashes sunk 13 threes, including five from Pippen but sophomore guard Giovanni Santiago followed close behind with four. 

Santiago usually serves as a distributor and facilitator, but tonight showed what he could do shooting himself, finishing the game with a season-high 14 points, four assists and two steals. The Puerto Rican native had not scored more than three points in a game since game two against the University of Virginia, in which he had five.

“He runs the team and he’s made some timely baskets all season long,” Senderoff said. “He had some big shots for us and we certainly need him to continue to play well.”

Senior guard Mike Nuga was less productive from three, but carved up the defense inside as he has done all season. Nuga scored 16 and was the Flashes’ second leading rebounder with nine.

Senior forward Tervell Beck had 11 points and three rebounds. Despite being in foul trouble late in the game, Beck hit a crucial corner three and a pair of free throws to keep Kent ahead before he fouled out with under a minute to play.

Senderoff said that Beck is an incredibly versatile player who is asked to guard different types of players and play from spots all over the court.

“We’re asking [Beck] to do a lot,” Senderoff said. “And he’s having a huge impact on our team. He’s making big plays that help us win games.”

Bowling Green’s offense was not quiet in its own right, with Josiah Fulcher scoring 23 and Justin Turner scoring 22. 

But Kent State was still able to harass the Falcons all night, with seven steals and 12 crucial points off turnovers.

“They don’t turn the ball over much,” Senderoff said. “We had been struggling defensively but in the second half we created enough turnovers and enough second chance points.”

Both teams shot well from the field, with Kent State hitting at 48.5% and BGSU at 46.1%, but Kent State had a serious edge in three point shooting, shooting 46.4% to the Falcons’ 35.7%.

Junior guard Malique Jacobs didn’t hit any threes, but he was still a central piece of the Flashes’ offense. Jacobs’ ability to draw and dish gave him four assists, tied with Santiago for a team-high, and he added seven points and three rebounds.

Kent State had struggled closing out tight games against top MAC competition this season, falling by just two points in two separate games against first place University of Toledo and by four against second place University of Akron.

“[Those are] tough teams and to be able to win [tonight] is big for us. We needed it,” Senderoff said.

Kent State will take on Central Michigan University at home on Saturday, Jan. 30 as the Flashes look to continue climbing the MAC standings. Tip-off is at 4 p.m.

Bowling Green, on the other hand, will try to stop a three-game skid against rival and MAC leader Toledo on Saturday.

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