Kent State falls to Akron in MAC Tournament

Rachel Jones

The Kent State men’s basketball team lost the Mid-American Conference Tournament

Championship game to Akron, falling 66-65 in overtime Saturday in the Quicken Loans


“We fought,” said Kent State coach Geno Ford. “We just couldn’t get things going

offensively. We got where we needed to get it. We just didn’t get it in the basket


After battling for the lead in the final minutes of the second half, senior guard Rod

Sherman tied it up 58-58 with 1:17 on the clock.

Each team sank one free throw for a 59-59 tie.

With 42 seconds on the clock and Kent State in possession, junior guard Carlton Guyton

lined up for the game-winning 3-pointer but missed.

Akron rebounded but Sherman stole it back. He tossed it up to beat the buzzer but the ball

bounced off the rim.

“They played really well in a lot of areas, but it’s tough when you don’t necessarily play

your best game when you need to play your best,” Ford said.

But with overtime as a chance for redemption, sophomore guard Randal Holt started

overtime like he did the first half – with a 3-pointer in the first 30 seconds. Holt and

Guyton’s dagger 3-pointers earned them each 14 points.

A minute later, junior forward Justin Greene fouled out.

Greene said the pressure and importance of the championship game had an effect on him,

making him play a little differently than usual.

“I was out of character,” Greene said. “I take full responsibility for this loss, for the type

of player that I am.”

While the Flashes continued to lead with the MAC Player of the Year on the bench, too

many missed free throws came back to haunt them.

Kent State went 12-for-23 from the line, while Akron went 8-for-17.

“(Akron) played and looked a lot more comfortable offensively,” Ford said. “They have a

whole roster of guys who played in four straight championship games. I thought when it

wasn’t going well, they stayed very poised.”

Kent State regained possession in the final seconds, and Porrini said the plan was just to

get somebody the ball and find any possible way to score.

As Guyton, Sherman and Porrini all tried to convert, Akron made block after block to

seal its victory.

“We were just trying to get a shot up,” Porrini explained. “When we came down the

court, it was a little discombobulated. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to (score).”

Porrini immediately fell to the ground in tears, and junior center Justin Manns ripped off

his jersey in disgust.

“It felt like the world fell down on me,” Porrini said.

When some celebrating Akron fans accidentally stepped onto the mourning Porrini, the

Kent State player jumped up to defend himself. Then, a shoving match broke out that left

several people – even trainers and officials – on the court.

When the intensity died down, Greene had only one thought: Sherman.

“That’s really what’s hurting me the most – the fact that we lost it for Rod,” Greene

said. “He’s a great person on the court, off the court and he’s been a great leader.”

Ford said he felt bad for the Sherman too, but with a trip to the NIT coming up, he tried

to keep things in perspective.

“It’s tough because we had such a great year, and I don’t want our team to lose sight of

that,” Ford said. “Hopefully, we can make a nice run in the NIT, and (Sherman) can look

back in the spring and realize we had three championship wins in four years.”

Contact Rachel Jones at [email protected].

Junior guard Michael Porrini lays on the floor while Akron celebrates a victory over the Flashes 66-65.

Kent State and Akron players scuffle after the final buzzer.