Flashes still searching for next conference win

Kent State forward Darren Goodson pushes past Ohios Ivo Baltic during the Bobcats 69-68 win over the Flashes Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, in the M.A.C. Center. Photo by Jessica Denton.

Kent State forward Darren Goodson pushes past Ohio’s Ivo Baltic during the Bobcats’ 69-68 win over the Flashes Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, in the M.A.C. Center. Photo by Jessica Denton.

Tim Dorst, TV2 Sports


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TV2 Sports Interviews Randal Holt and Mark Henniger to preview the Kent State Men’s Basketball game against Eastern Michigan.

Follow TV2 Sports on Twitter @TV2KSUSports.

It has been a rough two weeks for the men’s basketball team, to say the least.

After losing four straight games against Mid-American Conference foes, the Flashes (11-10, 2-5 MAC) sit third in the East Division and have not earned a MAC victory since their win over Buffalo on Jan. 16.

Now the Flashes, who are coming off of a tough loss to Northern Illinois, will try once again to get their season back on track when they host Eastern Michigan at 6 p.m. Saturday at the M.A.C. Center.

Kent State’s 67-65 loss to the Huskies Wednesday marked another game in which the Flashes were toppled in the final seconds, and head coach Rob Senderoff said the team has to be able to come out on top in those kinds of situations.

“We have to do a better job in crunch time defensively,” Senderoff said. “We also got to do better over the course of the game at sharing the basketball and just making simple plays.”

The Flashes finished the game shooting 39 percent and shot an even lower percentage from the 3-point line, making just six out of 24 attempts. The struggles could have been due to either poor shot selection or simply a bad night for the players, but Senderoff said regardless of the reason, the team needs to shoot the ball better and be able to make plays when it needs to.

Senior forward Chris Evans, who scored only seven points against the Huskies, said the Flashes didn’t come out with enough energy in that game and didn’t make enough winning plays when the game was close.

“We didn’t get enough loose balls or rebounds,” Evans said. “[The Huskies] just outcompeted us and out-scrapped us in the last first minutes of the game. We’re Kent State, and we have to be tougher in those clutch situations.”

The Flashes now must move on and prepare for the Eagles (10-10, 3-3 MAC), a team that defeated NIU 42-25 last Saturday and currently sits in third place in the MAC West.

“[The Eagles] pose a lot of challenges,” Senderoff said. “They play a very different style than what anybody else in the league [plays], or anyone we’ve played. They’ve got tremendous length and athleticism, so it poses a problem for sure.”

EMU is one of the best defensive teams in the conference, allowing an average of 59 points per game this season while ranking second in the MAC in blocked shots. Senior guard Derek Thompson leads the Eagles in scoring at the 11.2 points per game, followed closely by junior forward Glenn Bryant at 10 points per contest.

Evans said, at this point in the season, the Flashes have to worry less about what other teams do and more about what they can do as a squad to close out games and earn victories.

“It’s about what we can do to improve and how we’re doing at this point,” Evans said. “No disrespect to any of the other teams, but our main focuses right now are playing tough, out rebounding opponents and getting back to Kent State’s scrapping style of basketball.”

Contact Tim Dorst at [email protected].