Eight isn’t enough for Kent State’s ‘Big Three’

Thomas Gallick

Kent State hung in against Morehead State long enough for Al Fisher to switch into “Big Game Al” mode and secure the team’s eighth consecutive win.

That’s all well and good.

The only problem is the majority of those eight teams came from the Mid-American Conference West Division (with Ohio from the MAC East and Morehead State from the Ohio Valley Conference also included).

The Flashes close the season with four MAC East opponents, including three teams (Akron, Buffalo and Miami) that beat Kent State convincingly enough earlier this year to make fans wonder if the team could even near 20 wins.

Now, with the eight-game streak, the Flashes have 20 in sight, but they also have the knowledge that this four-game stretch to close the season will consist of the toughest contests of the year.

The good news for the Flashes: This Kent State team is not the same Kent State team that lost to Akron, Miami and Buffalo.

Saturday, the Flashes did not play particularly well against the Eagles as a team. Fisher (27 points), Tyree Evans (19 points) and Chris Singletary (15 points) all had decent individual games, so the team still won.

No one else on the team scored more than five points. The Flashes had no answer for the Eagles’ Leon Buchanan (31 points) and Kenneth Faried (17 points) inside, but the team still pulled out a victory.

There’s a lesson in that for the Flashes.

Not to disparage team ball, but when those three players all play at a high level for the Flashes, a win is almost assured. It’s just hard to tell if this effort from the “Big Three” is a sign of things to come or just a once-in-a-season occurrence.

Ever since Evans began playing in December, the trio has taken the majority of the shots for the team, and the losses since fell heavily on its shoulders. Nobody was excited about the three guards when they shot a combined 9-of-34 in the loss to Akron earlier this season.

Evans, Fisher and Singletary need to put up numbers similar to the effort in the Morehead State game if they want the 20-win season. More importantly, they must play exceedingly well if they want a shot at the NCAA Tournament.

No offense to Jordan Mincy, but he probably isn’t going to have any more 27-point games to lead the team to victory.

This is the stretch run.

Fisher needs to break out all of his circus shots and put the dagger in the hearts of Kent State’s rivals, something he’s done in the past.

Singletary needs to prove once again that he’s one of the toughest players in the MAC and not afraid to pound away inside and wear down the opposing team.

Evans needs to prove he is worth the chance the university took in bringing him in.

In short, the “Big Three” need to play up to the nickname so many were hoping they would earn earlier in the season.

Contact assistant sports editor Thomas Gallick at [email protected].