The heartbreaking finale

Cody Erbacher

It was clearly evident the Kent State basketball team wanted that win for the lone senior on the roster.

There was no question if the nine players that competed in the Mid-American Conference Championship game Saturday had the motivation and the fight for Kent State’s first MAC Championship since the 2007-08 season.

A NCAA Tournament Championship bid was at stake.

It was the last chance that fifth-year senior Rod Sherman would have to make it to the most prestigious college basketball tournament.

“It’s tough because we had such a great year,” said Geno Ford, Kent State coach. “We came up one possession short.”

The Flashes’ (23-11) roster knew that, and they wanted this win for a man who has suffered through four knee surgeries in order to continue playing basketball.

After the last buzzer junior guard Michael Porrini fell to the ground because “it felt like the world came down on me at that time.”

Porrini fell amidst Akron celebrations after Rod Sherman was blocked by Zeke Marshall with six seconds remaining, followed by a Randal Holt missing a 3-pointer as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

Long awkward pauses plagued the press conference after the 66-65 loss against the Zips, who were competing in their fifth-straight MAC Championship game.

Porrini and junior Justin Greene entered the press conference after watching Sherman, who shot 2-for-16 from the field on the way to eight points, compete for the last time against a MAC opponent.

Eyes were bloodshot and words were staggered for the two athletes.

Sniffles and sighs aired through the microphones in the press conference at the Quicken Loans Arena.

It was tough for each player to answer the questions.

Greene and Porrini attempted to keep their composer, but it was evident that the duo was hurting.

It looked like each athlete felt it was his fault that Sherman, who competed in a game-high 41 minutes, did not win a MAC Championship.

“I take full responsibility for this loss,” said Greene, who finished with 13 points and eight rebounds, shooting 5-for-16 from the field. “It’s what’s hurting me the most … just the fact that we lost this game for Rod.”

“If it ever happens again I think we’ll try to execute a little better,” Porrini said.

Porrini entered the match averaging 14 points, 9.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists in the previous two tournament games.

On Saturday, Porrini recorded just six points and three assists.

It wasn’t all bad for the 6’2’’ guard, though, as he hustled his way to nine rebounds.

Contact Cody Erbacher at [email protected].