Kent men’s basketball falls on late comeback


Freshman guard Kris Brewer drives to the hoop on Jan. 2 against Shawnee State. Kent won 90-65. Photo by Matt Hafley.

Nick Shook

Midway through the second half at Buffalo’s Alumni Arena, Kent State found itself in an advantageous but slightly unfamiliar situation.

 Leading by eight with just over 11 minutes to play following a clutch three-pointer from junior guard Randal Holt, the Flashes appeared to have the upper hand in a game that seemed like a heavyweight title fight. However, with 2010-11 MAC Player of the Year Justin Greene sidelined after fouling out with 4:51 to play, Kent State (10-4, 0-1 MAC) allowed Buffalo (8-4, 1-0 MAC) to fight back and slip away with a 66-65 victory.

The Flashes were outscored 19-10 in the final 11:07 of the second half as 2010-11 MAC Freshman of the Year Javon McCrea was the catalyst to Buffalo’s comeback. The now sophomore scored seven of the Bulls’ final 12 points en route to a one-point victory. McCrea scored 13 of his 25 total points in the second half while Kent State went cold at the worst possible time, missing five shots with under four minutes remaining.

Kent State’s leading scorer, Greene, was perfect from the field in the second half, going 3-for-3, but played only six minutes after being charged with four fouls in the final period. Greene finished the night with 16 points and five rebounds.

The Game

  • Kent State committed a season-low seven turnovers on Saturday night.?
  • The Flashes are now 11-4 in MAC openers since 1997-98.?-Buffalo earned 31 free throw attempts, as opposed to Kent State’s 14.?
  • Justin Greene became the first player in school history to score over 1,000 points (1,265) and have 100 career blocks (107) and 100 career steals (101).?
  • Greene’s disqualification for fouling out was only the sixth in his career at Kent State.

“That hurts our team,” head coach Rob Senderoff said. “He’s supposed to play 28, 29 minutes. When he gets in foul trouble, it hurts.”

Although Senderoff wasn’t pleased with the outcome of the game, there were positives that Kent State is able to look back on when reviewing just what happened in Buffalo. Bulls’ senior guard Zach Filzen, known throughout the conference for his shooting ability, was limited to just four points on the night, well below his 13.8 points-per-game average.

“We did a good job with that,” Senderoff said. “(Filzen) only took two shots and only took two threes. Our game plan certainly, he was a big part of it, because he’s a big part of their team, but their frontline…they had almost every point, and at the end of the day we’ve got to be better than that.”

In his first game since suffering a foot injury in December, senior guard Michael Porrini played a pivotal role even in a losing effort. The reigning MAC Defensive Player of the Year finished the night with 13 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Senderoff was discouraged by his team’s defensive effort versus the Buffalo’s front court. McCrea, Mitchell Watt, and Titus Robinson combined to score nearly 50 points for the Bulls.

“I’m generally a glass-half-full person,” Senderoff said. “But not tonight, not when we lose a lead and in my estimation, their front court has 49 points against us. I mean, that’s disappointing to say the least.”

The loss was the Flashes’ second one-point loss of the season. Kent State will return home to host Miami (OH) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the M.A.C. Center.

Contact Nick Shook at [email protected] and @NickShookDKS