No Bull: Flashes win in OT

Chris Gates

Fisher’s late heroics propel men to victory

The Kent State men’s basketball team found itself in familiar territory last night against Buffalo: down two points with just seconds remaining.

With the Flashes (17-13, 9-6 Mid-American Conference) trailing 67-65 with 16.6 seconds to play, junior guard Chris Singletary stepped to the free throw line and hit two free throws, sending the game to overtime.

In the overtime period, senior guard Al Fisher took control and pushed the team to a 77-71 win.

“There were a lot of games (in MAC play) where we were winning and we kind of (faded),” senior forward Julian Sullinger said. “Me and Jordan (Mincy) pulled our players aside and said, ‘Don’t let it happen this time.'”

With 2:37 left in overtime and the Flashes up 69-68, Singletary was called for a foul, his fifth, away from the ball. His 19 points and six rebounds took a seat on the bench and Kent State needed someone else to step up.

That player was Fisher, who scored eight of Kent State’s 10 points in overtime. After a layup and two free throws, he controlled the ball at the top of the key with the Flashes up three points. Fisher faked left, spun to the right and drove to the hoop, sending a right-handed floater into the basket with 29 seconds remaining to give Kent State a 73-68 lead.

It proved to be the game-winner.

“Al struggled through most of the night, and then when it was crunch time he made a couple monstrous plays for us,” Kent State coach Geno Ford said. “Then he had the game-winner.”

Kent State opened the game in control, building a 14-point lead with 4:04 left to play in the first half. That lead came by way of a 10-1 Kent State run, capped off by two breakaway layups by senior guard Jordan Mincy.

Buffalo didn’t fold, though, and crept back into the game before halftime with a run of its own. The Bulls shut out the Flashes for the last four minutes on a 9-0 run, sending the teams into halftime with Kent State leading by just five points, 36-31.

The game remained close for the remainder of play, with no team holding a lead of greater than four points. The Bulls continued their push in the second half and eventually took a 62-61 lead with 5:32 left in regulation.

Kent State kept the game close and tied it at 67-67 on Singletary’s free throws. He had a similar opportunity at Bowling Green last Thursday, but hit just 1 of 2 from the line with 2.3 seconds remaining as the Flashes lost 67-66.

Kent State now knows it cannot earn a first-round bye in the MAC Tournament. Wins by Akron and Miami last night caused a four-way tie atop the MAC East. The Zips, RedHawks, Buffalo and Bowling Green are all tied at 10-5 in conference play.

“I don’t know that a bye really matters for our team,” Ford said. “If there’s ever a year in the conference tournament that it’s going to be possible to run all four straight, this is it.”

Contact principal sports reporter Chris Gates at[email protected].