Abysmal shooting performance costs Flashes in 75-59 loss to WMU

Richie Mulhall

It has been said time and time again that the Kent State men’s basketball team is a three-point shooting team. They live and die by it.

Unfortunately for the Flashes (11-7, 2-3 Mid-American Conference), they have been dying by the three ball more than they have been living by it lately.

The men shot a meager 24.1 percent from three-point range in a seven of 29 shooting effort Thursday night against the Western Michigan Broncos (10-7, 3-2 MAC).

The Flashes poor shooting performance led to their demise — a 75-59 loss.

“It’s a tough loss for us,” Kent State coach Rob Senderoff said. “Right now, our confidence is certainly not where it was a month ago. We’re just not playing very well and we’re not showing enough fight out there the way we need to.”

The Flashes struggled with the three-ball all night long, and they just couldn’t get clutch shots to fall.

Senderoff said “the story of the game” was not Western Michigan’s outstanding defensive presence but Kent State’s lackluster offensive showing

“The story of the game was us just getting frustrated and not finishing on top of the rim and missing shots that some of them were contested and some of them were tough shots, but we’re pressing a little bit too much and just not doing the things we need to win,” Senderoff said.

In the beginning of the game, there was a lot of sloppy play on both sides of the ball, as both the Flashes and Broncos failed to shoot more than 45 percent from the field, and Kent State was only able to shoot 26.5 percent on nine of 34 shooting.

Two of Kent State’s best three-point shooters were stymied by Western Michigan for the majority of the game. Junior guards Derek Jackson and Devareaux Manley were 1-4 from three-point range, and Darren Goodson, a guy who was 42 percent from three last season according to Senderoff, was 0 for 4 Thursday night from beyond the arc.

Senderoff said a lot of his players are struggling right now, and it is affecting the entire team’s efficiency against tough, marquee opponents.

“I got a lot of guys who aren’t seeing the ball go in the basket when they shoot, and then because of that, they’re letting one play become a frustration to the next and it’s snowballing,” Senderoff said.

Kent State’s sloppy play and questionable shot selection persisted through the start of the second half.

The Flashes saw a number of good looks in the basket and made some good moves to get inside the paint but to no avail. The team had a difficult time finishing plays and taking advantage of quality scoring opportunities.

Senderoff said his team fought and scrapped, but couldn’t seem to get anything to go its way.

“Some of these guys are getting looks that I think are good looks, but they’re not making them,” Senderoff said. “I have to check to see if [the team’s shots] were bad shots or good shots, but if they’re good shots, we gotta shoot them and we got to make them. If they’re bad shots, we gotta do a better job of moving the basketball to get a good look.”

Kent State did improve in scoring in the second half, putting up 15 more points than they did in the second half and shooting 31.3 percent from three-point range on 5 of 16 shooting.

“We have a game on Sunday, nobody feels sorry for us,” Senderoff said. “We gotta play, and guys gotta get up off the mat.”

The Flashes are back in action Sunday as the team travels to Toledo Sunday to take on the Rockets (16-2, 4-1 MAC). Tip-off is at 6 p.m.

Senderoff said the team’s focus will be on one thing: improvement.  

“My mindset tomorrow is to practice and try to get ourselves better, and we gotta try to figure something to get ourselves going, and guys in the locker room need to get together and find a way to stop the bleeding,” Senderoff said.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].