Flashes basketball falls to conference opponents

Jon Jankowski, Tim Dorst


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Ohio basketball defeats Kent State 69-68.

Contact Jon Jankowski at [email protected].

Kent State drops third-straight to conference opponents

For the second-straight weekend, the Kent State men’s basketball team found itself in a hard-fought battle against one of the top Mid-American Conference teams where the game came down to the last couple of plays. While the opponent was different, the result was ultimately same.

Kent State couldn’t hold on to a late lead, falling 69-68 to the Ohio Bobcats at the M.A.C. Center Saturday night. The Flashes (11-9, 2-4 MAC) dropped their third straight game.

With the Flashes down 69-68 with less than 10 seconds left in the game, senior guard Randal Holt drove down the middle of the court and shot a floater in the lane that would have won the game for the Flashes. Holt’s shot hit the rim and bounced off, and the remaining time ran out.

Holt said the final shot he took was a high-percentage shot that he usually makes in most situations.

“It just bounced off the back of the rim this time,” Holt said. “It was tough luck.”

The Bobcats improved their overall record to 15-5 with their sixth-straight win over MAC opponents. Guard D.J. Cooper led the way for the Bobcats with 23 points and five assists, and forward Reggie Keely scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half to help Ohio keep the score close.

“(Cooper) made some huge plays and obviously Keely finished them off,” Flashes coach Rob Senderoff said. “But Cooper really initiated all of that down the stretch.”

It was another tough home loss for the Flashes, as their record in the M.A.C. Center fell to 6-6 this season. Senderoff said this game was similar to last Saturday’s game against Akron, with the Flashes having the chance to win both of them.

“Our kids competed very hard,” Senderoff said. “Obviously, it’s not easy when you lose games like this. But the challenge for us is to be able to bounce back in the next game.”

The Flashes closed out the first half with a 3-pointer by Holt to take a 36-32 lead into the locker room. Holt finished the game with 14 points despite shooting 3-for-12 from the field.


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It didn’t take long for the Bobcats to begin their second-half comeback, going on a 14-2 run over the course of five minutes. Cooper scored seven-straight points, including a mid-range jumper and a 3-pointer to give the Bobcats a 53-46 lead.

Ohio led 60-52 with 7:33 remaining in the second half when Kent State began storming back. 3-pointers by senior forward Chris Evans and sophomore guard Devareaux Manley highlighted an 11-0 run that helped the Flashes gain a three-point lead.

Evans, who finished with 20 points and seven assists to lead the Flashes, made a layup while being fouled and converted on his free throw to give Kent State a 63-60 lead with 4:43 to go. The Bobcats stayed in the game behind seven-straight points from Keeley and two free throws by Cooper that proved to be the game winners.

Turnovers halted many of the Flashes’ possessions in the second half as Kent State committed 13 of its 20 turnovers in the second half. Senderoff said he felt many of his team’s mishaps were unforced.

“To start the second half, we had about four in a row,” Senderoff said. “It’s hard when the game’s at the end and it’s a one-point game, you can always look at the last play or last shot, but there are so many possessions in between those. That’s where the game gets lost.”

The Flashes will attempt to snap their three-game slide Wednesday night at Northern Illinois. Holt said the loss to Ohio is a tough one, but knows that the team needs to stay focused on the rest of the season.

“We still got games to play,” Holt said. “We just want to come together and grind it out, to find ways to win. Nobody said it was going to be easy. We have to dig deeper, and we need everyone on the team to take their game to another level.”

Contact Tim Dorst at [email protected].