Winning has been a team effort

Chris Gates

Different players contribute to men’s basketball success

The Kent State men’s basketball team is not looking back on what it’s done in the month of February. However, the accomplishments are many.

The Flashes, who visit Bowling Green tonight, have won virtually every way possible this month.


Kent State (16-11, 8-4 MaC) vs.

Bowling Green (15-11, 8-4 MAC)

When: 6:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Anderson Arena (Bowling Green)

Listen: WNIR 100.1 FM (Tom Linder)

Online: Live blog at

They won convincingly against Toledo, 81-53. They came back to win against Northern Illinois and Morehead State. They held off opposing comebacks against Ball State and Central Michigan.

And recently, they earned their second win of the year against a Mid-American Conference East division opponent, beating Ohio 64-51 Feb. 17.

“The reason we’ve been winning is because we’ve been getting so many contributions from so many guys,” Kent State coach Geno Ford said. “In this win streak, we’ve had (junior) Anthony Simpson be the best player in a game, we’ve had (junior) Tyree Evans be the best player in a game (and) we’ve had (senior) Jordan Mincy be the best player in a game . we have to have everybody.

“We’ve got enough weapons that, when we come to play and get contributions from multiple guys, we’re good enough to win. It doesn’t have to be on any one guy’s shoulders.”

Breaking down the game

Matchup to watch: Senior guard Jordan Mincy vs. Bowling Green’s Joe Jakubowski … for no other reason than they are both pure guards that like to play defense and take good care of the ball. With Mincy showing his scoring touch as of late, the winner of this duel could prove to be the winner of the game.

Kent State player to watch: Senior guard Al Fisher. Fisher is coming off a 27-point performance against Morehead State in the ESPN Brackestbuster game and has already had success against the Falcons, scoring 23 in the first meeting this year.

Bowling Green player to watch: Senior forward Nate Miller. In Bowling Green’s last three games, the 6-foot-4 Miller has led the team in scoring and rebounds twice. He also leads the team in scoring on the year with 12.7 points per game.

The last time they played: Kent State won its first conference game of the year by blowing out the Falcons 72-48 Jan. 14 at the M.A.C. Center. Fisher scored 23 points and added another seven assists as the Flashes blew open the game in the second half. Tied 33-33 at halftime, Kent State went on a 27-6 run in the first 11:30 of the second half, putting the game out of reach.

The Flashes have six wins this month, which are part of their current eight-game winning streak. With a win tonight at Bowling Green, they would complete their first undefeated month of play since December 2007, when the team went 5-0. It would also be their longest conference winning streak, at eight games, since they had 10 in a row during the 2003-04 season.

“We play 35 games,” Ford said. “It’s not some other sports when you’re playing a limited amount. We play so many that it’s impossible to play well from Nov. 10, opening weekend, all the way through March 8 for the end of the regular season.

“Every single player is going to have a time when they’re injured, they’re going to have a time when they’re sick, they’re going to have a time when they’re just mentally not focused,” Ford said. “If you have multiple guys that can step up, the team still continues to get wins.”

The team has seen production across the board. Mincy has emerged as a scoring threat, as he is averaging nearly 10 points per game in February – well above his career average of 2.7.

Simpson has begun to develop as a force on the boards to accompany senior forward Julian Sullinger; the junior is averaging almost seven rebounds per game this month.

And finally the “Big Three,” composed of senior guard Al Fisher and junior guards Chris Singletary and Evans, have regained their consistent scoring touch. Most recently, the trio combined for 61 of Kent State’s 79 points in beating Morehead State.

Who will step up is a mystery from game to game within the team. However, the Flashes have confidence it can be anyone on any night.

“I don’t know if we know who it’s going to be,” junior guard Mike McKee said. “We have an idea. Obviously we put a lot on Al, and we put a lot on Chris and Tyree to score for us.

“As the game starts, you get a feel for it. But we don’t really know who it’s going to be. We’re happy to see whoever it is.”

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