Men’s basketball defeats Central Michigan, 61-57

Chris Gates

The Kent State men’s basketball team beat Central Michigan at home tonight 61-57 to finish off a sweep of the Mid-American Conference West.

Senior guard Jordan Mincy opened the scoring in the first half and single-handedly gave the Flashes (14-11, 7-4 Mid-American Conference) an early lead. A deep 2-point jump shot, a 3-pointer and a drive for a layup, all by Mincy, gave the Flashes an early 7-3 lead.

They continued to build upon that lead, shooting 8-of-9 from the floor in the first 10:10 for a 21-9 lead.

Central Michigan found its shots as the half wore on and eventually crept back into the game. The Chippewas turned around their early shooting woes and shot 7-of-14 in the final 9:50 to close the gap to just two points, 28-26, at halftime.

“Every time we got the lead to 10 (points) we just couldn’t shake them,” Kent State coach Geno Ford said.

Mincy reenergized the team again in the second half, stealing the ball near mid-court and taking it to the hoop for a layup and a 37-33 lead. That lead was extended to as many as 14 points until Central Michigan again found life shooting the ball.

Central Michigan junior guards Robbie Harman and Jordan Bitzer hit each hit a 3-pointer and cut the Kent State lead to 56-52 with 2:57 remaining. However, a 3-pointer by junior guard Tyree Evans, his first shot of the game, put the Flashes ahead 59-52 and the game all but out of reach.

Harman hit another 3-pointer, but there wasn’t enough time left to make a final run as Kent State held on for the win.

The win is the sixth in a row for the Flashes, who will go back to MAC East play on Tuesday.

“We seem to be playing better, but we’re going to have to respond and play well down the stretch,” Ford said. “These teams are all good.”

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

LIVE BLOG: Kent State vs. Central Michigan