Men’s basketball’s offense stalls in loss of Bowling Green

Photo by Steven Echard.

Photo by Steven Echard.

Tim Dorst

Kent State found open looks on the court early and often Wednesday night in Bowling Green, but the shots just weren’t falling and an offensive rhythm never truly formed.

Shooting woes and offensive struggles ultimately led to the Flashes (11-8, 2-3 Mid-American Conference) falling 70-55 to the Falcons (7-11, 2-3 MAC) at the Stroh Center.

Kent State coach Rob Senderoff said the Flashes simply didn’t perform well in any aspect of the game.

“We struggled, especially in the first half,” Senderoff said. “We didn’t rebound well, gave up too many second chance points and turned the ball over too much. We didn’t share the ball the way we needed to. Obviously when you do those things, you’re going to have a tough time, especially on the road.”

Kent State didn’t bounce back well from its tough home loss to Akron last Saturday, but Senderoff said he doesn’t feel that Wednesday’s loss to Bowling Green was the result of any sort of hangover from the loss to the Zips.

“It’s possible, but I wouldn’t expect it to,” Senderoff said. “To me, that’s not an excuse for the way we played tonight.”

The Flashes shot just 36 percent for the game and went 3-for-17 from 3-point range, an area that is usually a strong point for the team. It took the Flashes until the second half to hit their first three after going 0-for-8 throughout the first half.

Bowling Green withstood a few runs by Kent State in the second half and maintained a steady attack for most of the game. An outstanding performance by sophomore forward Chauncey Orr, who scored a career-high 18 points to lead all scorers, helped the Falcons keep a relatively safe distance from the Flashes on the scoreboard.

“(Orr) played very well,” Senderoff said. “He made his open shots, and he just played at a really high level.”

Falcons senior guard Jordon Crawford also made his mark on the game not just by scoring, but also by facilitating the offense for Bowling Green and finding his teammates for open shots on more than one occasion.

“He’s one of the better point guards in our league,” Senderoff said. “He certainly had a big effect on the game. He played really well.”

Crawford finished the game with 12 points and added six assists and a game-high four steals.

With the game tied at eight early in the first half, the Falcons put together a quick 8-0 run that included 3-pointers by Orr and sophomore guard Anthony Henderson to secure an eight-point lead about midway through the half. Bowling Green increased its lead with the help of a couple of steals by Crawford and a 9-0 run to close out the half with a 35-22 advantage.

The Flashes came out of the locker room firing and cut the deficit back down to eight following two 3-pointers by senior guard Randal Holt and an alley-oop dunk by senior forward Chris Evans. Holt and Evans were the only two Kent State players to score in double figures with 17 and 13 points, respectively.

Holt’s shooting in the second half helped narrow the gap slightly, and Kent State made it 47-40 with 13:47 left in regulation. Unfortunately for the Flashes, that was as close as they got for the rest of the night.

Senderoff said the Flashes had chances to cut into the deficit, but they didn’t execute enough when they had to and lost their momentum.

“We would turn it over or wouldn’t get a rebound.” Senderoff said. “Anytime those things happen, they’re sort of back-breaking plays. But when you have chances like that and then you turn it over and the other teams scores, those kind of things are deflating for your team for sure.”

Things don’t get any easier for the Flashes with MAC East Division leader Ohio (14-5, 5-0 MAC) coming into the M.A.C. Center Saturday. Senderoff said the Flashes will have to play much better than they did Wednesday if they want to compete.

“Ohio is very good, still one of the top teams in our league.” Senderoff said. “They’re coming off a Sweet Sixteen appearance last season. We’re going to have to play a lot better and compete a lot harder than we did tonight.”

Contact Tim Dorst at [email protected].