Men’s basketball sinks Miami, 78-57

Rachel Jones

Final score

Kent State: 78

Miami: 57

Game highlights

  • Sophmore guard Randal Holt carried Kent State with six 3-pointers
  • Holt earned a team-high of 22 points against Miami
  • The RedHawks had 22 turovers

Six 3-pointers by sophomore guard Randal Holt carried the Kent State men’s basketball team to a 78-57 victory over Miami at the M.A.C. Center Sunday afternoon.

“He came out and has been playing really well and stepping up for us,” said senior guard Rod Sherman. “We’ve been behind him the whole time.”

Holt said the faith his teammates and coaches have in him gave him the confidence to try for the 3-pointers and find his rhythm.

“Individual success comes from team success,” Holt said. “When it’s your turn, you have to step up, shoot the ball with confidence and knock it down.”

Geno Ford, Kent State coach, said being confident and playing well go hand-in-hand, although it’s sometimes hard to determine which one causes which.

Either way, Holt’s confidence boost earned him a team-high and career-high 22 points against Miami.

“Boy, he’s playing good,” said Miami coach Charlie Coles.

Ford said he was also proud of Holt, but he really liked how the team reacted to his 3-point surges.

“I like we had guys looking for him,” Ford said. “We were much more balanced, zipping around and (getting) some pretty good looks. (Holt) made some pretty good shots that obviously kept up (the team’s) confidence.”

And with the poor opening possessions Kent State (12-7, 3-2 Mid-American Conference) compiled in the first 12 minutes of the game, a confidence boost was definitely needed.

A series of fumbling passes and missed shots plagued most of the first half for the Flashes, but they drew new blood with 8:09 left before half-time.

Junior guard Michael Porrini stole the ball off Miami and tossed it to Holt, who sank his second 3-pointer for the game and closed the Miami lead to 22-21.

Just 19 seconds later, freshman guard Eric Gaines made his own steal near Miami’s basket and bolted down the court. With the Kent State basket unguarded, Gaines easily sank his layup and gave the Flashes their first lead of the game.

The play sparked Porrini to make another steal a minute later, but this time, he hung onto the ball himself.

Although Porrini missed the layup, Sherman tipped it in for the 25-22 Flashes lead.

“That was where we were able to get that game swung our way,” Ford said. “Not only did we get the steals, we got charges that got the game sped up.”

The Flashes maintained the lead, and – thanks to a layup by Porrini with five seconds on the clock – entered the second half up 39-29.

“We wanted to play to get tired – no pacing ourselves,” Ford said.

Sherman said the sense of urgency carried over to the defense, where the players tried to speed up the game and force Miami (8-11, 3-2 MAC) to make turnovers.

The RedHawks had 22 turnovers – 20 from just the first half.

“When you force that many turnovers, they’re not getting as many shots,” Ford said.

They also didn’t get the rebounds.

“I actually was encouraged with the fact that we only gave up three rebounds to (Miami’s Antonio) Ballard,” Ford said. “He gave up double-doubles to us last year, but I thought Porrini handled him well (this time).”

Miami coach Coles said he knew Porrini, a weightlifting champion in Cuyahoga County, was strong, but he couldn’t believe the way he took out Ballard.

Porrini had his ninth game with three or more steals this season, but Gaines had the most steals of any player this season with five.

“I liked our ball movement,” Ford said. “We got it inside, outside, swung it and made extra passes. Hopefully, that’s something we can continue.”

Contact Rachel Jones at [email protected].