Al Fisher only scored two points.
Ball State shot 75 percent from the field in the second half and virtually erased a Kent State lead that stretched as high as 19-points.
The Flashes shot 35 percent in the second half including a miserable 1-of-5 from behind the arc.
Those sentences may sound like the closing scenes to a horror film about the Kent State men’s basketball team, but really the game was good for the Flashes.
The team never trailed after the opening minutes of the first half, never gave up on hustle plays and most importantly, eked out a win in a game it easily could have blown.
This was not a game to put on the end-of-the-season highlight reel (well, maybe the impressive first half), but these are the kind of wins the team desperately needs.
“Winning ugly,” as so many coaches put it, procures the same results as any other kind of win.
This particular Kent State basketball team needs to embrace winning ugly. And it’s not because the team is any less talented than the groups responsible for 10 consecutive years of 20-win seasons.
It’s the fact that Kent State has always “won ugly.” That is the only way to get to 20 wins so many years in a row.
There’s a bit of polish on the collective memory of the Kent State fan, especially considering last year’s NCAA Tournament team and the Elite Eight team.
Just because those teams were uniquely skilled programs in the school’s history does not mean they never “won ugly.”
Remember last year’s regular season closer against Akron?
No, not just the final game winning shot by Fisher. That was pretty. The way the team almost let its rival steal the game after missing three free throws and turning the ball over twice in just over the final minute? Not so much.
The point is, winning is almost all that matters. Style is for teams that can afford it, and this team can not.
Winning in tough games where the other team made a furious charge for the lead is a character builder, not a blow to the team morale.
75 percent shooting from Ball State. Eek.
Al Fisher makes one shot. Ugh.
10-of-19 shooting from the free-throw line. Uh-oh.
Now that that’s out of the way, appreciate the fact that the team won despite all of those unattractive facts.
I’m sure coach Geno Ford doesn’t care, or the team. Why should you, Flash fan?
Contact assistant sports editor Thomas Gallick at [email protected]