Evans injured as men’s basketball rout CMU 87-72

Junior guard Darren Goodson pulls up for a fadeaway shot during an 87-72 victory over Central Michigan Saturday, Feb. 9 at the MACC. Photo by Shane Flanigan.

Shane Flanigan

Junior guard Darren Goodson pulls up for a fadeaway shot during an 87-72 victory over Central Michigan Saturday, Feb. 9 at the MACC. Photo by Shane Flanigan.

Tim Dorst

For much of Saturday’s game against Central Michigan, Kent State’s men’s basketball team found itself in control and in rhythm offensively. The Flashes seemingly couldn’t miss as they bombarded the Chippewas with 3-pointer after 3-pointer, many of which came in the first half.

Between an intensified defensive effort in the second half and a sustained offensive attack, there were a lot of positives for the Flashes in their 87-72 victory over the CMU Saturday night. But despite winning the game in decisive fashion, the Flashes are hoping they won’t lose a valuable player for their next game.

With a little more than three minutes to play in the game, senior forward Chris Evans appeared to twist his right ankle when he jumped and came down on a teammate’s foot. Evans remained on the floor in obvious pain as trainers from the Kent State bench rushed over to attend to him. The crowd in the M.A.C. Center fell silent, waiting to see if Evans would get back to his feet.

Evans had to be helped off the court and did not appear to put any weight on his ankle as he went to the bench.

Head coach Rob Senderoff said Evans received treatment for a sprained ankle after the game but was not 100 percent sure about the extent of Evans’ injury. Senderoff said Evans’ status would be updated after he underwent more treatment.

The ankle injury put an abrupt end to Evans’ otherwise solid evening. Evans scored 19 points to pace five Flashes players in double figures and added eight rebounds and a pair of steals.

For Senderoff, it was refreshing to see his team come away with another conference win at home, the Flashes’ second straight.

“I think we did a great job offensively through the night,” Senderoff said. “It was probably our best offensive performance in league play. Moving the basketball, not turning it over, getting good shots and shooting a high percentage. We made the plays we needed to in the second half, and we came away with a much-needed win for us.”

The win moves the Flashes to 13-11 overall this season and improves their Mid-American Conference record to 4-6.

Kent State put on a shooting display for much of the game, finishing the night shooting nearly 56 percent from the field and making 11-of-22 from 3-point range. The Flashes made nine of its 11 3-pointers in the first half, and senior guard Randal Holt attributed the Flashes’ strong shooting performance to solid ball movement and a heightened confidence.

“We shared the ball well offensively tonight and we shot the ball with confidence,” Holt said. “We’ve been getting shots up for the past couple days in practice. We just stepped in whenever we had an open opportunity, and we shot it with confidence. They fell for us tonight.”

Holt, Kent State’s all-time leader in 3-pointers, finished the game with 15 points and shot 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. Junior forward Darren Goodson continued showing improvements with an 18-point outing Saturday night, and sophomore guard Kris Brewer added 16 points and seven assists.

With six conference games remaining on the schedule, Holt said he is starting to see the team play more as a unified force and find its identity as the MAC Tournament inches closer.

“Everybody is finding out what it is that they do well for us and just bringing that every night that we step on the court,” Holt said. “We’re trying to come together and start playing our best basketball leading into the tournament, to get some chemistry going. Just know what we do good out there so we can be successful.”

The Flashes must now prepare for another conference matchup at home Wednesday against the Miami Redhawks, and Holt said they have to be ready to play hard whether Evans is cleared to play or not.

“Obviously we all want [Evans] to come back as soon as possible,” Holt said. “But if push comes to shove and whatever happens, we still have to play. We’ve got to go out there and do what we do, regardless of our personnel. We still got to prepare like Chris is playing, and everybody has to be really to step up and come together.”

Contact Tim Dorst at [email protected].