Men’s basketball snaps losing streak with win over EMU


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Facing its longest losing steak in four years, Kent State desperately needed a decisive win to break the recent string of tough losses against Mid-American Conference opponents. On Saturday, the Flashes got a much-needed boost on their home floor.

Kent State (12-10, 3-5 MAC) rolled over Eastern Michigan (10-11, 3-4 MAC) 77-62 Saturday night at the M.A.C. Center, breaking a four-game losing streak and a three-game home court skid.

Senior guard Randal Holt became Kent State’s all-time leader in 3-point field goals, passing Trevor Huffman with 211 3-pointers in his four-year career. At the end of the game, Holt said the thought of breaking the record hadn’t completely hit him yet.

“I just feel blessed to be in this situation,” Holt said. “I’m thankful to even be here and be able to do something like that. It’s amazing to break a milestone that has been there for some years now. That’s just an amazing feeling.

Holt broke the record on a shot from the left wing at the 11:34 mark of the second half. The senior hit five 3s in the game to finish with 17 points, while tying his career-high with six assists.

Head coach Rob Senderoff said what made tonight even more special for Holt is not only breaking the 3-point record but also breaking out of his recent shooting slump.

“He’s probably as frustrated as anyone that he hasn’t produced the way he would like and the way we all would like,” Senderoff said. “He hasn’t had the season that I’m sure he would like to up to this point, but I also think you have to remember the career he has had here.”

Kent State ended a recent trend of close losses with a 15-point victory over the Eagles, something that Senderoff was happy to witness.

“We certainly needed to break out of the slump that we had been in,” Senderoff said. “So it was nice to see. We defended well, we shared the ball pretty well, and hopefully it’s something that we can use to build upon.”

The Flashes took control in the first half with a 9-2 run that was punctuated by a steal and a breakaway dunk by senior forward Chris Evans. Evans scored 11 points on the night and set a career high in steals with five, as the Flashes led 32-26 at halftime.

Kent State did not let up at the beginning of the second half, going on a 10-0 run to push the lead to double-digits. Junior forward Darren Goodson started the half with four quick points, and Holt capped off the run with back-to-back 3-pointers.

Senderoff said starting the second half strong and maintaining that level of play was something the Flashes needed to do and came through on.

“The start of second halves at home, we have not been great at,” Senderoff said. “It’s not something we talked about at all, but I do think it was important for us for a six-point lead not to get down to one early on.”

The Flashes kept the Eagles from cutting into their lead and even extended the lead to 21 at one point in the second half, and Senderoff said he felt it was also important to keep Eastern Michigan from making it a close contest like many of the Flashes’ games this season have been.

“We’ve been struggling,” Senderoff said, “and when you’re struggling, if it had got tight and they had scored the first five points in the half, it might have been a different game. So, the way we started the second half when Darren had two straight baskets, I thought that helped us a lot and eased some of the tension that might have been there.”

Goodson continued his strong play as of late, scoring 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting. Goodson said he credits his improved performance on the court to his hard work ethic in practice and the ability to integrate that on game days.

“It starts with playing hard all the time in practice,” Goodson said. “When you look at yourself on film, you can tell if you’re playing hard or not and the whole team sees it. Coach got on me about it and told me to play better. So I’m going to do whatever it takes for this team and for the seniors on this team.”

As for Holt, setting a career milestone feels even better knowing the team added another tally in the win column when the game was over.

“More importantly, it feels good to get the win,” Holt said. “We were on a losing streak, and we all committed ourselves to doing whatever it took to get the win. We knew Eastern Michigan was a good team with great athletes and players, so we had to find a way to get this win. And that’s what we did.”

Follow Tim Dorst for more KSU sports coverage @TimmyD_DKS