Men’s basketball falls to Cleveland State, finishes 2-1 in World Vision Classic Tournament

Rachel Jones

When Cleveland State’s Tim Kamczyc scored in the first four seconds of last night’s game with nobody on him, the Flashes knew it wasn’t going to be an easy night.

The Flashes fell to Cleveland State 69-66, finishing the World Vision Classic Tournament 2-1. They defeated Bryant 90-49 on Saturday and Iona 73-72 on Friday.

Kent State coach Geno Ford said the win would’ve been nice, but it won’t determine the rest of the season.

“I’m not mad at them,” Ford said. “I’m just a little disappointed in our second half.”

Ford called the second half “a gradual slide,” but the first half had some smart plays.

The Vikings’ defense swarmed senior Rod Sherman with 15:46 left in the first half, and he dropped the ball. With a quick recovery, the guard tossed it to junior forward Justin Greene for the dunk.

The senior showed his veteran experience again with 11:04 left in the first half.

Sherman ran down for a dunk, but passed it off to junior center Justin Manns, who was wide open near the Cleveland State bench. Manns made the shot and then scored again with a solo dunk 30 seconds later.

Junior guard Michael Porrini sank two three-pointers with 9:30 and 4:30 left in the first half, pulling the Flashes ahead 20-14.

After finishing the half with a 34-23 lead, Greene said he was disappointed with how the game turned out.

“We lost our play,” Greene said. “Instead of stretching the lead, we let them come back.”

The Flashes made 24 personal fouls in the game, with most of them coming from the second half.

Cleveland State’s Norris Cole made 11 free throws, which Ford said helped the Vikings (3-0) gain their lead.

“Cole didn’t shoot the ball well, but he made it to the foul line 13 times because of us,” Ford said.

A double-technical foul from Greene and Manns with 10:20 on the clock also contributed.

“It was just a little tussle, but the refs called it a tech,” Greene said. “That’s how it is sometimes. But we have a really young team, and for me to have the tech, I set a bad example. I’ll take the blame for that one.”

The call allowed Cole and Cleveland’s Devon Long to score three points.

“There’s no excuse to have a rivalry game where we can’t compete in a mature manner,” Ford said. “I didn’t see what went on, but you can’t be losing games on technical fouls.”

The rivalry stems from both teams knowing each other from playing throughout the summer. Ford said he doesn’t see it as a rivalry game, “but it is for the kids.”

With 1.3 seconds left, Greene tried to make a 3-pointer for the win but missed.

“Justin can make shots, and it was as good a look as he could’ve got,” Ford said. “Sometimes, the basketball gods are cruel, and sometimes they’re just. I hate to say it, but the shot didn’t deserve to go in.”

With only three returning players this season, Ford said the team will learn how to prevent mistakes and keep its confidence high if they do happen.

“We weren’t tough enough to get that done yet, but, hopefully, we come out of this a better team than when we came in,” Ford said. “They’re trying so hard to play well, and they want to win. We just have to learn how to win.”

The Flashes (2-1) knew how to win Friday, starting the tournament with a 73-72 victory over Iona.

After trailing 70-64, junior Carlton Guyton sank a 3-pointer, tying it up with 53 seconds left.

“To have a guy like (Guyton) who can make a big shot like that in the first game is a big deal,” Sherman said.

Greene sank the game-winning foul shot with 1.9 seconds on the clock.

The team continued the victories on Saturday, burying Bryant 90-49.

Guyton led the team with 19 points after a 5-for-5 effort from behind the arc, earning him and Greene a spot on the World Vision Classic All-Tournament Team.

Kent State plays its fourth game in five days against Robert Morris at 8 a.m. Tuesday at the M.A.C. Center as part of ESPN’s 24-hour Tip-Off Marathon.

“We better show some toughness,” Ford said. “We’re tired. We’re sore. But Robert Morris couldn’t care less. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”

Contact Rachel Jones at [email protected].