Men’s basketball team nearly erases a 19-point deficit in tournament championship loss


Eastern Tennessee State University senior guard David Sloan moves the ball during the team’s win against the Kent State men’s basketball team on Wednesday, Nov. 25 in Naples, Florida.

Jacob Hansen Reporter

With a 19-point deficit, Kent State’s basketball team nearly pulled off a comeback in a 57-51 loss during the Naples Invitational Championship. 

But Kent State was defeated by Eastern Tennessee State University in the championship game for the Naples Invitational trophy.

The Flashes beat James Madison 74-69 in the first round of the tournament, and they defeated George Washington 77-69 on Tuesday to advance to the championship round. 

“I think people are disappointed, as we should be,” coach Rob Senderoff said. “We had the chance to play for a championship down here, but we have to play for 40 minutes at a high level and unfortunately we didn’t.”

Kent State is now 3-2 on the season while ETSU improves to 4-2 on the year. 

It was a slow first half with neither team managing to score above 30 points. 

Redshirt junior guard Sincere Carry and redshirt junior guard Malique Jacobs combined for 18 of the teams 20 points in the first half as KSU went into halftime trailing 29-20. 

Carry had 10 points and four rebounds, while Jacobs had six points and five rebounds at the half. 

The Flashes shot just 11% (1-9) from three point range in the first half. 

The struggles continued for Kent State, and the team trailed by 19 points with 14:44 left in the second half. 

That was until Carry led the team to a 15-5 run bringing the team back within eight. The Flashes would then go on a 11-5 run to bring the lead within two with 1:04 remaining. 

Unfortunately, the struggles behind the arc continued for Kent State as the team couldn’t pull off the victory 

The Flashes were 17 percent (4-23) from the arc. Kent State struggled with turnovers, turning the ball over 16 times. 

“The shot selection isn’t something I’m questioning,” Senderoff said. “Some of it is probably tired legs, some of it is their defense, and some of it is not as good of shots as we had in the past.”

Kent State gave up 14 second chance points after being out rebounded 38-28, which Senderoff took note of. 

“That’s a problem, we have to keep teams off the glass,” he said. “Their front court guys got all over the glass, and they dominated our guys and we have to be better.”

Carry kept the Flashes alive in this game finishing with 21 points, nine rebounds, and four assists. Jacobs added 14 points, 12 rebounds, and an assist, recording his first double-double of the season. 

Senderoff has been impressed with Jacobs’ performance this week. 

“He’s rebounded, he’s defended, and he’s played really hard,” he said. “He’s done a lot of good things this tournament, and I think this tournament will help him as well.”

KSU will look to bounce-back on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Point Park University at the M.A.C Center. 

Jacob Hansen is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].