Chris Gates

Falcons snap Flashes’ eight-game winning streak as Evans’ final shot comes up short

VIEW photos from last night’s game.

With the Kent State men’s basketball team trailing Bowling Green 67-65 with 23 seconds remaining in the game, junior guard Chris Singletary stepped to the line for two free throws and a chance to send the game into overtime.

The first shot rolled perfectly off his fingers and into the hoop, touching only the net. He refocused himself, eyed the basket for a second time and shot again – but too hard, as the ball bounced off the back of the rim and to the right along the baseline.

Players rushed after the ball, trying to gain possession, and it eventually bounced off a Bowling Green player, giving the Flashes one final chance with 1.1 seconds left.

Singletary threw an inbounds pass to junior guard Tyree Evans, who corralled it and quickly fired off a 15-foot jumper that fell short of the rim, sending the Flashes to a 67-66 defeat at Anderson Arena.

“Had that shot gone (in) by Tyree it would have been a great win,” Kent State coach Geno Ford said. “But the better team tonight would have not won. They were better than us.”

With 7:47 to play the Flashes took a 56-51 lead on a 3-point play from Singletary. That lead was short-lived in a game that featured five ties and 19 lead changes. Neither team led by more than six points all game.

Bowling Green center Otis Polk scored four quick points to close the gap to just one point, 56-55. After both teams traded baskets, Polk added another two points down low, giving his team the final lead with 1:20 remaining.

Polk finished the game with 10 points and eight rebounds.

“He gives us problems because we’re not a great rebounding team,” Ford said. “His eyes must light up like it’s Christmas when he sees Kent State on the schedule because he plays really well against us every time we play.

“He’s bigger and stronger than any of our guys, and he has really soft hands.”

The situation leading into the game was reminiscent of last season. In 2008, Kent State came into Anderson Arena coming off a BracketBuster win over St. Mary’s and was ranked No. 23 in the AP poll. The Flashes ended up losing 89-83.

This year, coming off another BracketBuster win, this time over Morehead State, and riding an eight-game winning streak, the Flashes were once again beaten by the Falcons.

Senior guard Jordan Mincy, who led the Flashes with 19 points, said after the game that last season’s loss woke the team up and made the players realize they couldn’t just show up and win every game. He said he hopes the same will come from this loss.

“We just try to take it as learning a lesson,” Mincy said. “Last year it was a good place for us. It helped us refocus and learn that you can’t get too high, you can’t get too excited. So it kind of brings us back down to reality and lets us know that we are beatable.

“We’re not too much worried about it. We know we’ve got three more games and Miami’s coming up (Sunday) and so on. We’ve just got to keep our heads up. We know we’re still in the race.”

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