Playing through the pain

Cody Erbacher

This season’s injuries force Flashes to ‘reveal some character

If anyone is able to put a positive spin on injuries, it’s Kent State men’s basketball coach Geno Ford.

Ford said recent injuries are giving the team an opportunity to show its character.

“(The injuries are) not coming at a great time,” Ford said. “But it’s a blessing for us because it’s going to reveal some character for our team having to play in a game where you’re coming off a horrible performance.”

Although the Flashes (18-8, 9-3 Mid-American Conference) haven’t dealt with season-ending injuries, the season is starting to take a toll on the players’ bodies.

“Several guys are injured, and several guys haven’t practiced in weeks,” Ford said.

As the season starts to wind down, players from every team feel the effects from the grind of the season.

The Flashes have four key players that have experienced these problems, according to Ford: senior guard Tyree Evans had surgery on a broken nose, senior forward Anthony Simpson hurt his thumb, senior guard Chris Singletary is battling an MCL sprain and junior guard Rodriguez Sherman is dealing with an injured foot, though the X-rays are negative.

“There’s not one kid that plays for Ohio University that cares about any of that,” Ford said. “So we’ve got to come out and find a way to win. We’ve won the game with guys hurt before.”

Ford said it’s going to be tough for the team to overcome these injuries, but this game will show if the Flashes have the ability to take the next step and win after a disheartening loss.

“We were awful on Saturday in pretty much every phase of the game,” Ford said. “The blessing is that it wasn’t a conference tournament game. It was a regular-season game on the road that we stunk.”

On Saturday, Kent State lost to Buffalo, 70-55, ending an eight-game win streak.

Singletary led the Flashes against the Bulls with 18 points and eight rebounds but recorded a team-high seven turnovers. Kent State finished the game with a season high of 19 turnovers.

After suffering its third loss in the MAC, the Flashes are now tied for first place in the conference with Akron. Because Kent State is tied and doesn’t have an outright lead, every MAC game is now more important.

“Every game from here until the end you can say ‘oh it’s the biggest game,’” Ford said. “It’s always going to be the biggest game because when you’re winning and you’re in a championship race, it is the biggest game.”

But Ford said the first step is to regain composure and win today against Ohio.

“We’ve got to come out here and right the ship on (today),” he said.

Contact sports reporter Cody Erbacher at [email protected].