Men’s basketball loss painful

Ed Safranek

Seeing the Ohio Bobcats basketball team best the Golden Flashes Saturday in Athens was a painful experience. True, Kent State did a great job coming from an 11-point deficit to turn it into an overtime game, but they had the last shot in regulation with more than 20 seconds on the clock and the game tied. They were disorganized and failed to get any kind of shot, tossing the ball to spectators instead of one of their own players. Who is to blame for this miscue: the player throwing the ball, or the intended receiver who cut in the opposite direction of the pass? It’s hard to say. Yet clearly they were not on the same page, which is something that should not happen to a well-coached team.

They really lost the game earlier by having an offense that involved too much dribbling around without apparent purpose while four other players stood about waiting for something to happen. On several occasions, their big men had opportunities down low but spent too much time getting into their shot, allowing defenders to regroup and block shots that could have been points.

Kent State has lost five MAC games by six points or less, including two to Ohio and one to Akron. It would not take much to turn things around, but fundamental changes are needed. If they want to do better in the MAC Tournament, they will have to overhaul their approach so there is less idle dribbling and more movement on the court. Team members playing in the paint need to move more decisively to the rim. On defense, they need to move their feet to deny baseline attacks and penetration in the paint. Several players have the bad habit of lunging on defense, giving the offensive opponent a chance to get that all-important step past an unbalanced defender. They need to make their opponents dribble around without a viable attack, eating into the shot clock and forcing low-percentage shots. Kent State is not the best team in the league, but they are good enough to beat the best if they keep their wits and play smart basketball.

Ed Safranek (Class of 1971), New Marshfield, Ohio