Goodson’s heroic shot the miracle Flashes needed

Richie Mulhall

In the classic, highly anticipated Kent State-Akron basketball game Saturday night, senior forward Darren Goodson picked up his fourth foul and headed to the bench late in contest.

When Goodson sat, he put his head down. This feeling of defeat was not something new. It was an old adversary – a dismal reminder of a once-great season slowly spiraling out of control.

Freshman forward Marquiez Lawrence could see his teammate’s frustration and said something to his senior leader to brighten his spirits.

“(Lawerence) came up to me and he said, ‘You’re gonna hit the shot to win the game,’” Goodson said. “I promise he said that.”

It’s safe to assume Lawrence did not have a crystal ball hidden somewhere on the sidelines that told him Goodson would hit the game-winning shot, but he did give a pretty accurate prediction. So accurate that it was almost scary – crazy, even.

When Goodson checked back into the game, he said he was “just trying to stay focused” and make something happen for his team. And he did.

The game was tied 57-57 with a mere 30 seconds remaining. Junior guard Kris Brewer took the ball out, dribbled to the top of the key and waited for the clock to tick down to the last shot.

Brewer tried to drive to the hoop, but couldn’t find opening. He passed the ball off to Goodson, who was waiting in the corner for a miracle.

That miracle became his shot – the shot of a lifetime.

Goodson dribbled to the top of the key, jumped off his back foot and threw up a prayer from 28 feet away from the hoop.

The shot banked off the glass and slipped through the net for the three-point score.

The crowd went crazy and nearly blew the lid off the M.A.C. Center as Kent State players and media photographers already began storming the court with one second remaining on the clock.

After the game, Goodson was not even sure of what to make of what he had just accomplished.

“I don’t even know,” Kent State’s hero said about his clutch, game-winning shot. “I knew [Brewer] was going to give [the shot] to me because he believes in me just like I believe in him. My first thought was just to get a shot up for a chance to get the offensive rebound and it went in.”

Akron inbounded the ball, but senior forward Mark Henniger deflected the ball and prevented the Zips from even attempting a long-shot answer to Goodson shot.

Game over. The Flashes had finally snapped their four-game losing streak by defeating Akron 60-57, and needless to say, the M.A.C. Center’s atmosphere after the game was nothing short of electric.

Kent State fans, players, coaches, cheerleaders, media and pretty much anyone associated with Kent State stormed the court after the game to celebrate the hard-fought victory – a victory that was one Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff had never seen before.

“For every game I’ve been a part of in this rivalry, that’s the biggest that’s been made on either end,” Senderoff said. “I think tonight will go down in the Kent State annuals and history because this is one of the biggest shots in the rivalry’s history, at least from Kent’s perspective.”

Goodson – always trying to lead his team – struggled from the field, missed his first four shots and picked up two fouls early on top of everything else not going his way.

He had no points and a missed three-point attempt in the first half, but at the end of the day, none of it mattered. He was the hero who made his shots when they really mattered.

In the second half, Goodson shot a much-improved 5-9 from the field, sank his last four shots and drained two three-pointers, including the game-winner.

“I’m just very, very happy for [Goodson] because when it comes to this game and this school, there’s no one on our roster who cares more about being at Kent than Darren does,” Senderoff said.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].