Flashes head to Bowling Green for mid-week matchup


Akron’s Alex Abreu, junior guard, dunks on Kent State during the Kent-Akron game on Jan. 20. Akron won 71-67. Photo by Jacob Byk.

Tim Dorst

Kent State’s men’s basketball team dropped a hard-fought game to Akron last Saturday, but the players will attempt to put that loss behind them as they prepare for another Mid-American Conference opponent.

The Flashes hit the road again for a MAC matchup with the Bowling Green Falcons scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Stroh Center in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Kent State comes into the game against the Falcons with a record of 11-7 this season, including an even 2-2 record against conference, which puts the Flashes in second place in the MAC East Division. The loss to the Zips dropped the Flashes two games back from first place, but head coach Rob Senderoff said the team can not afford to focus on the loss.

“We need to keep being resilient,” Senderoff said. “We play again Wednesday on the road at Bowling Green, and we’ve got to grind and find a way to bounce back.”

The Falcons might be just the right opponent at the right time for the Flashes. Bowling Green returns home after two close road losses to Miami University and Buffalo, and the Falcons’ record sits at 6-11 after losing seven of their last eight games.

Despite their struggles this season, the Falcons have posted a 5-2 record on their home floor, as opposed to a 0-7 mark on the road. Bowling Green will no doubt try to use its home court success as an advantage against a Kent State team that has found success of its own away from the M.A.C. Center.

The Flashes are 5-2 on the road this season and winners of its last three road games. The team has yet to find the same luck at home, as their 6-5 record already has them stuck with more home losses than all of last season. Senderoff said the reason for the discrepancy in home and road records is still a problem in need of a solution.

“I wish I knew,” Senderoff said. “Then, we could bottle that up and go from there.”

Regardless of the venue, the Flashes know how important each and every MAC game is, as they delve deeper into the conference schedule. Senior forward Chris Evans said the team shouldn’t have any hangover from the recent loss to Akron.

“We can’t hold on to it,” Evans said. “You should definitely not forget about it, you want to learn from it. We just watch the film, get back to work and get ready to prepare on Wednesday for them.”

Evans remains first on the team and second in the MAC for scoring slightly more than 17 points per game, while senior guard Randal Holt’s 13.8 points per game makes him the second leading scorer on the team.

One of the key factors for Bowling Green comes from the shortest player on the team, senior guard Jordon Crawford. At 5-foot-6, Crawford is fifth in the MAC in scoring with 16.5 points per game and uses his speed and quick feet to keep defenders off balance.

Kent State’s rebounding could also be a factor in its mid-week game against the Falcons. The Flashes were out-rebounded in the second half against Akron, which led to the Zips receiving more opportunities to score and ultimately seal the win at the end.

Against Bowling Green, the Flashes will try to keep forward A’uston Calhoun off the boards as much as possible. The senior ranked fourth in the conference with 7.4 rebounds per game and averages 16.1 points per game. By comparison, Evans is third in the rebounding category with 7.7 per game.

Senderoff noted that with seven new players on the team this season, he feels the Flashes are starting to grow as a unit and play at the level they need to be at. However, he said it might still be too early in the season to know for sure.

“I do feel like we’re growing up,” Senderoff said. “I would’ve liked to see us finish the game [against Akron] off for me to say we really are growing up, but we’ll see. It’s a long season ahead. We’ll see how grown up we are when we play Wednesday.”

Contact Tim Dorst at [email protected].