Xavier silences Flashes

Cody Erbacher

KSU can’t stop Crawford in loss

Junior guard Rodriquez Sherman drives to the basket against sophomore guard Terrell Holloway. The Musketeers held Sherman to a season low six points in the game. Cody Erbacher | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

He dunked on LeBron James during King James’ own basketball camp this summer, and on Friday, Jordan Crawford showed a similar amount of respect to the Kent State men’s basketball team’s defense.

The sophomore guard led Xavier (5-2) to a 77-61 victory over the Flashes (5-3) with a game-high 21 points.

“We just don’t have a great match-up for him,” Kent State coach Geno Ford said. “He shot the 3 really well. We didn’t contain him very well.”

Crawford, who leads Xavier with 18.5 points per game, was lights out from behind the arc, shooting 5-for-7 (71 percent) from the 3-point line.

The Flashes did not have the answer to Crawford’s scoring touch, as they rotated defenders on him throughout the game.

“We didn’t do very well against him,” senior center Brandon Parks said. “We knew he was their best scorer, and we didn’t get to him. He’s a great player, and we knew we just didn’t take advantage of our scouting report stuff.”

When Crawford hit his first 3-pointer fewer than four minutes into the game, the student section, accompanied by the band, erupted with cheers while throwing handfuls of confetti into the air.

Kent State controlled the majority of the first half, leading Xavier by as many as 12 points. The Flashes wanted to start the game strong in an attempt to quiet the Cintas Center, but the crowd of 9,896 didn’t stay silent.

The Flashes kept pressure on the Musketeers, taking a 29-17 lead with 6:44 left in the first half following a layup from junior guard Rodriquez Sherman.

However, Sherman had trouble finding his groove, as he shot only 3-for-13 for six points, his lowest total of the season.

“They did a really good job being able to stay after Rod with a lot of fresh bodies,” Ford said. “They wore him down, which was smart on their part.”

Sherman scored just three times against the Musketeers, the first time he was kept out of double-digits since the first game of the season when he scored nine points against Samford.

With the help of a 19-5 run, Xavier took a 36-34 lead into halftime while shooting 7-for-13 (54 percent) from beyond the arc.

A jump shot from the hands of junior guard Dante Jackson gave the Musketeers their first lead of the game. Xavier would not surrender the lead for the rest of the way.

The first eight minutes of the second half remained close while the Flashes were able to keep the score within five points, but the Musketeer offense pulled away, outscoring Kent State 24-13.

Senior guard Chris Singletary returned to action for the first time after tearing his meniscus on Nov. 18 against Green Bay. Singletary shot 2-for-8 from the field in 20 minutes of play.

Next Saturday the Flashes travel to Pittsburgh to conclude a four-game road stretch.

“Sometimes you feed off of stuff like this,” Parks said. “We don’t lose two games in a row, so we’re going to come out with a killer mentality.”

Contact sports reporter Cody Erbacher at [email protected]