Men’s basketball looks to extend two-game winning streak


Senior guard Randal Holt drives toward the basket during an 88-83 overtime loss to Valparaiso Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012 in the M.A.C Center. Photo by Shane Flanigan.

Nick Shook

After two straight victories, including Kent State’s first road win over a Big Ten opponent since 1970, the Flashes enter Wednesday’s game at Youngstown State with a target on their backs.

“Youngstown is good, and Youngstown is hungry to beat Kent State,” Flashes head coach Rob Senderoff said. “[It’s] a big game for Youngstown State, and we have to know that going in.”

Fresh off a 74-60 win at Nebraska, Kent State will take the court tonight in Youngstown looking for its fourth win in its past five games. Forward Chris Evans will be expected to lead the offense again, alongside fellow senior Randal Holt, who scored 15 points and recorded four assists in the win over Nebraska. Evans was named the Mid-American Conference East Division Player of the Week for the second time this season after averaging 16.5 points and eight rebounds in two Kent State victories.

“[Evans] and [Holt] have both been great,” Senderoff said. “The most notable thing is that it’s not like his numbers were any better this week than they were last week. The difference is we won our games this week, so with our team success comes individual success for both [Evans] and [Holt].”

Evans made 8 of 9 shots to finish with 19 points and six rebounds in the victory at Nebraska. Holt made a game-winning 15-foot jump shot with 1.3 seconds left to lift Kent State to a 69-68 win over visiting Bethune-Cookman on Nov. 21.


  • Sophomore guard Kris Brewer has been battling flu-like symptoms for the better part of a week, but said he will be ready to play Wednesday. However, he will likely begin the game on the bench, with freshman guard Kellon Thomas taking his place in the starting lineup.
  • The game is the 43rd meeting between Kent State and Youngstown State. The Flashes lead the Penguins in the all-time series 26-16 and have won the last four meetings.
  • Ten of Youngstown State’s 16 series wins have come at home.
  • Milestone watch: Senior guard Randal Holt needs just six points to become the 29th player in school history to reach 1,000 career points.

“They’ve both been very good all year, and they’re both very important to us,” Senderoff said.

The Penguins enter Wednesday’s game in the midst of a three-game losing streak. Junior Kendrick Perry leads a group of four players averaging double-figures for Youngstown State with 17.7 points per game. The 6-foot guard was named the Horizon League Player of the Week on Nov. 19 after scoring 23 points in a 68-56 win over Georgia. Perry scored a career-high 34 points in an 83-80 overtime loss to North Dakota State one week later.

“Right now, they could be the best team we’ve played so far,” Senderoff said. “…they are not tremendously deep, and that’s probably right now their biggest weakness. But their starting five is as good as anybody we’ve played.”

Junior Darren Goodson responded well to his benching versus Bethune-Cookman by scoring 16 points on 8 of 10 shooting versus Nebraska. Senderoff noticed Goodson’s enthusiasm at the end of the victory over Bethune-Cookman, despite his absence from the final box score.

“He was the first guy up, and probably as excited as anybody that we [had] won, even [though he didn’t play],” Senderoff said. “He had a couple good practices, worked hard and then played the way we thought he’d play.”

“I’m glad for him, I’m glad for us, because we needed him to play well.”

Junior forward Mark Henniger spoke of Goodson’s importance to the team’s overall success.

“I’m sure it helped his confidence that he was able to get out there and do his thing,” Henniger said. “We look for him to be a big part of our offense. When he gets going, we get going.”

Stringing together wins is something that Henniger believes will greatly help the Flashes, in both the short and long run.

“[Winning] instills confidence,” Henniger said. “When you’re consistent it makes everything a lot easier. When you start realizing that you can do well and win games, it motivates us to start realizing that we can have a really good season.”

Much like his starting forward, Senderoff emphasized the importance of continuing the Flashes’ recent success.

“As I told our guys, we started out 3-2, certainly could have been 4-1,” Senderoff said. “We feel as if we gave one away in the Valpo game. The biggest thing for us is to stick together during this five-game stretch going into finals week, because every game is going to be tough.

“It’s a great way to start by winning at Nebraska. Now we’ve got this one at Youngstown, and then Saturday against Princeton, which, I haven’t watched them at all yet, but I already know that’s going to be like going to the dentist to play.”

Kent State tips off against Youngstown State at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Beeghly Center in Youngstown, Ohio.

Contact Nick Shook at [email protected].