Going Green

Men’s basketball defeats Akron in dominating fashion

Nobody would have guessed sophomore forward Justin Greene would be posting team-leading numbers at the beginning of the season — including himself.

But Greene posted his third career double-double with 23 points and 13 rebounds in Kent State’s 87-70 win over rival Akron.

Greene leads the Flashes (12-7, 3-2 Mid-American Conference) with 254 points, averaging 13.4 points per game. His 6.2 rebounds per game are also first on the team, and he is the only player to start in all 19 games this season.

“My teammates do a good job of looking for me,” Greene said. “The whole preseason they were telling me to make plays. I’ve just been trying to deliver for them.”

The win vaulted the Flashes into a four-way tie for first place with Akron (13-6, 3-2), Buffalo (10-6, 3-2) and Miami (6-12, 3-2) and showed the sold-out crowd of 6,204 why the team deserved to be atop the standings as Kent State won its second straight game in dominating fashion.

The Flashes have scored more than 50 second-half points and more than 80 total points against two MAC powerhouses in Buffalo and Akron.

The second half started in a stalemate with a 35-35 score, but following a quick basket by 7-foot Akron center Zeke Marshall, Kent State went on a 22-2 run, including 19 unanswered points, to take the score to 57-39.

Greene, who proved he was able to play against one of the MAC’s biggest players as he played a major role in keeping Marshall in check, ignited the run with a three-point play over Akron’s freshman center.

“We saw a lot of courage (in Greene) stepping up to the challenge,” junior guard Rodriquez Sherman said, referring to Greene’s play against Marshall. “He went up strong every time. We believe in Justin.”

Senior guard Chris Singletary was quiet on the offensive side during the first half, but he scored all 10 of his points in the second half.

Kent State led Akron by as many as 20 points in the second half, while Akron couldn’t regain a lead after Marshall’s bucket at the beginning of the half.

Although it looked as if Kent State couldn’t be stopped, Singletary said the crowd played a huge role in the Flashes’ success.

“It was really important just having that energy,” Singletary said. “It was really easy to feed off that energy. When we win that crowd is going to be like that.”

The Zips used a 14-1 run to take a 29-22 lead in the first half and keep the Flash fans quiet, but Kent State tied it up with a 9-2 run right before halftime, which included four points from Greene.

Kent State showed its capability to provide multiple players with high scoring totals as five players scored in double-digits: Greene (23), senior guard Tyree Evans (14), senior guard Mike McKee (14), Sherman (13) and Singletary (10).

The Flashes will return to the court Tuesday at Toledo before coming home next Saturday to face Western Michigan.

Contact sports reporter Cody Erbacher at [email protected].