Flashes need a lesson at boarding school

Cody Erbacher

A lack of rebounding for the Kent State men’s basketball team nearly handed the Flashes their second loss of the season in Friday’s 78-74 overtime win against Furman.

Kent State coach Geno Ford said a combination of the players’ inexperience and fatigue was the reason a smaller Furman lineup outrebounded the Flashes.

It was evident.

Kent State recorded a season-low 36 rebounds, while Furman recorded 41 rebounds. It was the first game this season that the Flashes were out-boarded. Prior to the game, Kent State’s lowest rebounding total in a match was against Iona in the season opener when the Flashes posted 30 rebounds.

Although Kent State boasts more size and skill than Furman’s lineup, the Paladins were much more experienced with a roster led by five seniors.

And it showed as the Flashes were forced into an overtime thriller, in a game that should have been a “for sure” victory.

Kent State’s lone senior Rod Sherman has been limited from a concussion he suffered against Cleveland State, and besides Justin Greene, the Flashes’ starters had not competed in the M.A.C. Center before this season.

If the rebounding problem persists, Kent State will not be able to contend against some of the more skillful schools in its out-of-conference schedule, starting next Friday with Lehigh.

Adding to the young Flashes roster was fatigue that the players endured in the week leading up to Friday’s game. Six players on the roster (Justin Greene, Carlton Guyton, Sherman, Michael Porrini, Justin Manns and Randal Holt) averaged over 20 minutes in four games entering the contest.

Greene, who is averaging 19.6 points with eight rebounds a game, displayed signs of lead-footedness as much as anyone on the court Friday, but his scoring didn’t reflect. He finished with 23 points but only five rebounds against Furman. With his talent, though, Greene should have posted a double-double, instead of the handful of boards he had.

As the season progresses, the fatigue the players feel will be present, but not to the extent of Kent State’s opening week marathon of five games in eight days. The inexperience will subside too with practice and more game-time action for the younger players.

But for the near future, Kent State welcomes Lehigh next Friday, then travels to face UAB and Florida. Without fixing the rebounding problem, the Flashes will struggle to compete for a win against schools that will most likely be taking part in March Madness.

More so, without fixing this problem, the Flashes will not be able to compete against Mid-American Conference teams, let alone teams that lack explosiveness similar to Furman.

But Ford, the reigning MAC Coach of the Year, as well as any other Division-I college basketball coach, deals with these problems at the beginning of every season. With the amount of talent the Flashes’ roster has, Ford should be able to make this 4-1 team into another MAC regular season championship team.

Contact Cody Erbacher at [email protected].