The Kent State men’s basketball team posted a smaller and weaker lineup compared to Drexel as the Flashes fell 73-66 in the ESPN BracketBuster game Friday.
Kent State: 66
Game highlights Carlton Guyton led Kent State with 17 points Samme Givens led Drexel with 17 points and 15 rebounds Michael Porrini had 12 points for the Flashes
Utilizing their size and strength with a home-court advantage, the Dragons (18-9) handed the Flashes (17-9, 8-3 Mid-American Conference) their first non-conference loss since Nov. 31 when Kent State fell to James Madison, 60-51.
“It’s tough to find your rhythm against a team that’s much bigger and stronger,” said Geno Ford, Kent State coach. “We have played no one that was that physically imposing.”
Kent State’s defense struggled with Drexel’s forward Samme Givens, who finished with a team-high 17 points, while recording 15 rebounds.
“They physically beat on you,” Ford said. “They’re good. They’re big. They’re strong. They’re tough.”
Drexel’s defensive attack used size advantages to bully Kent State into taking some bad shots. The Flashes finished with a 35.9 field goal percentage, while shooting 4-for-18 from the 3-point line.
Kent State started the scoring with a quick basket from junior forward Justin Greene, who finished with 11 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.
Although Greene posted his eighth double-double on the season, he shot 3-of-7 from the free-throw line, while shooting 4-for-16 from the field.
“Some nights they just don’t fall,” Greene said.
Senior guard Rod Sherman, who averages 12.6 points per game this season, also struggled finding his rhythm.
Sherman shot 1-of-7 from the field en route to just four points in the game.
“We just couldn’t seem to make (a shot),” Ford said. “We made them in practice, and we made them in shoot around. There is no reason to not make shots. We were dead. They just beat us up.”
Following Greene’s bucket, Drexel’s Derrick Thomas hit a layup of his own. A little over a minute later, Daryl McCoy completed an and-1 play to take a 5-2 lead.
After a first half of a sluggish offense, Kent State trailed Drexel, 42-30.
But the Flashes continued to attempt to regain the lead in the second half.
Poor shooting from the field made this a tough task. Kent State shot 33.3 percent from the field, including an 18.2 shooting percentage from the 3-point line in the second half.
“It’s always going to be tough when you’re working uphill the whole game,” Greene said. “I liked the way we fought in the second half.”
Monday, Feb. 21
@ University Arena at 7:00 p.m.
Radio: WNIR 100.1 FM
All-time Kent State leads the series 56-53
Kent State had fight in the second half, but the Flashes were never able to gain any more ground on the Dragons. Kent State trailed Drexel by at least seven points throughout the whole second half.
With 5:55 remaining in the game, sophomore guard Randal Holt capped off a 7-2 run to cut down Drexel’s lead, 58-51.
That’s the most that Kent State cut into the deficit.
For the remainder of regulation, the Flashes’ offense traded buckets with the Dragons. With 3:06 remaining in the game junior guard Carlton Guyton hit two free throws taking the deficit to 63-57.
Guyton posted a team-high 17 points in Kent State’s effort to defeat Drexel.
Two minutes later Drexel led by double-digits. The Dragons kept the double-digit lead for the remainder of the game.
Although Kent State suffered its eighth road loss, the night could have been much worse.
Junior guard Michael Porrini took a hard fall early in the second half and injured his shooting hand. He returned a few minutes later, but it is still unknown the extent of the injury.
X-rays were taken, but the team is still waiting on the results.
With a 3-8 away record, Kent State continued its struggle to stay consistent on the road. The Flashes will attempt to prove they can win away from the M.A.C Center as they travel to face Western Michigan (15-10, 7-4 MAC) on Monday.
Contact Cody Erbacher at [email protected]