Our View: We’ll get them next time

DKS Editors

As the clock read 0:00 at the Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night, everyone in attendance, besides the Kent State men’s basketball team, could finally shake the nerves that rattled them throughout the overtime thriller.

Confetti fell from the ceiling, a reverberating bellow of applause filled the arena and the Akron Zips stormed the court to celebrate their Mid-American Conference Championship.

The sound of the fans alone sent chills down your back.

But the sight of Kent State’s team was hard to bear. It’s rare that you see 6-foot-6 men with tears rolling down their faces.

Disappointment painted each player’s face.

They walked off the court in silence. The team fought through 23 wins and a regular season MAC Championship, but their hopes of playing in the “Big Dance” were over.

An estimated 9,000 fans were on their feet, but the Flashes’ fan bases’ reaction was the most intriguing aspect. You did not hear any boos or insulting shouts.

In a game where referees were scrutinized throughout, and an NCAA Tournament berth was on the line — there were no excuses from players or fans.

Akron won.

The historic rivalry that went Kent State’s way just a week earlier, ended with Akron pulling off an upset in a game conference officials salivated over.

The Kent State faithful will be disappointed with a National Invitational Tournament game this week, but the big picture is much different.

The team will return all but one player next season.

The Flashes almost defeated Akron with the conference’s best player sitting on the bench for over three minutes of the overtime period.

A championship did not return to Kent State, but the players and the fans represented the school in a memorable fashion.

The loss hurts, but Kent State could and should be playing under the lights of Quicken Loans Arena for the MAC Championship in 2012.

DKS Editors