Guyton’s 3’s lead men’s basketball to victory

Rachel Jones

Ten 3-pointers gave the Kent State men’s basketball team the extra edge needed in last night’s 69-53 win over Louisiana at Monroe in the M.A.C. Center.

Half of the points came from junior guard Carlton Guyton.

“The first 3 went down, and I felt good,” Guyton said. “The second 3 went down, and I felt good.”

Sophomore guard Randal Holt added two 3-pointers in less than one minute in the first half. Holt had control over each shot, firmly planting his feet before execution.

“We were due to have a good shooting game,” said Kent State coach Geno Ford, who celebrated his 50th Kent State win. “I thought (Guyton) shot the ball pretty well.”

But the Flashes (7-1) did not start the dominant game play right away.

Both teams stayed within two points of each other until there was 4:50 remaining in the first half.

“Their whole game plan was to get the game as slow as possible,” Ford said. “I felt like we wanted to play before the game — we had a lot of energy, a lot of life — and then the pace of the game was so slow that I don’t know if it transferred over.”

That’s not to say the crowd had nothing to watch.

Trailing by two with 13 minutes left in the first half, freshman guard Eric Gaines had a flying, Michael Jordan-like dunk, tying the game at 9-9.

“That was nasty,” Guyton said.

“That’ll be on the highlight reel,” said freshman forward Robert Johnson.

While Gaines has been playing well most games this season, Ford said this was a defining moment.

“It was a big-time play,” Ford said. “He has not passed (junior center) Justin Manns (in dunks), but that’s his goal in life.”

Johnson also stood out against the Warhawks (2-6). With five points and three steals, Ford said Johnson was one of the strongest defensive players on the court.

“He had two great passes and transitions into the basket,” Ford said. “He’s probably our second-best scorer, too, especially with 1-on-1 coverage.”

“He had two great passes and transitions into the basket,” Ford said. “He’s probably our second-best scorer, too, especially with 1-on-1 coverage.”

“Coach (Ford) wanted us to play aggressively, so I just tried to help out,” Johnson said.

Junior guard Michael Porrini kept up the aggressive momentum with 8:26 in the second half, snatching the ball from a Warhawk who was about to dunk.

Porrini has posted at least three steals in four straight games. He also led the team with eight assists.

The Flashes totaled 23 assists out of 26 baskets, the most they have recorded in one game this season.

“It came down to people playing unselfishly and teammates making good passes,” Guyton said.

With 2:27 left in the first half, senior guard Rod Sherman launched the ball from Louisiana at Monroe’s foul line to Greene. The center quickly recovered it for an easy layup.

He and Guyton led the team with 17 points each, but Greene failed to pull down any rebounds.

Greene had some pain in his shins after the Nov. 19 game against Furman, but Ford said, “His shins are fine. His rebounding isn’t.”

Ford also said the team as a whole needs to improve on playing competitively.

“We have about four guys in that locker room with an effort level as consistent as it should be,” Ford said.

The players will try to bring it together when they face the University of Alabama at Birmingham on the road at 8 p.m. Sunday.

“That will be the time to find out where we are,” Ford said. “Hopefully, we can learn from winning.”

Contact Rachel Jones at [email protected].