Flashes snap three-game losing streak with win over St. Francis (Pa.)

Nick Shook

Randal Holt held the ball at his hip on the right wing with just over seven minutes remaining in the game. The senior guard stared at his defender, took a jab step and launched a 3-pointer, which fell through the hoop with ease, barely grazing the net.

It was that kind of night for Kent State.

After an 11-day break that followed three straight losses, Kent State (6-5) cruised to a home victory, 77-48, over St. Francis (Pa.) (0-10) Thursday night in front of 636 at the M.A.C. Center in Kent, Ohio.

“We needed a win,” Flashes head coach Rob Senderoff said. “It had been a long time, in term of dates, because we had 11 days off, we had lost three games. It felt like an eternity before we had a good feeling.”

Kent State forced six early turnovers and took a 23-1 lead in the first 10:08 of the game. The Flashes maintained a double-digit advantage for the rest of the night.

“We definitely wanted to come out and start off right on the defensive end,” senior forward Chris Evans said. “Our defensive intensity set the tone for the game.”

Evans led the way for Kent State with 17 points and nine rebounds and even managed to show flashes of the forward fans saw in 2011-12 with a pair of highlight reel dunks. Evans also recorded three steals as part of a defense that finished with nine takeaways.

Kent State scored 29 points off of turnovers, a result of preparation during the week and a half layoff.

“Coach instilled in us all week that we wanted to get back to our defensive principles,” Evans said. “The defensive intensity and pressure we showed tonight definitely won the game for us.”

Sophomore guard Kris Brewer was a perfect 3 for 3 from the floor, including 2 for 2 from deep to finish with 13 points. Brewer also played the role of facilitator with five of Kent State’s 15 total assists.

“Tonight was a night that’s really going to get me going today, Saturday and future games,” Brewer said. “In practice, coaches just wanted us to pass the ball and be unselfish.”

The Flashes turned the ball over just seven times, as opposed to St. Francis’ 18 turnovers.

“When you stop trying to make individual plays, your turnovers go down,” Senderoff said.

Kent State snapped a three-game losing streak with the win over St. Francis and will continue a three-game home stand Saturday night when the Flashes host Arkansas State.

“It helped us a lot,” Brewer said. “[The win helped] get us back on our feet, get us back on track with everything — defense, offense and team unity. This win really helped us.”

Tip-off between the Flashes and Red Wolves is at 7 p.m.

Contact Nick Shook at [email protected].