I’d much rather have a winner than a scorer

Doug Gulasy

The Kent State men’s basketball team’s new offensive threat is not known for his offense.

He came into Saturday’s game against Central Michigan averaging 3.1 points per game this season and 2.5 per game in his four-year career. He is shooting 20.7 percent from beyond the arc this season and 38.5 percent from the free-throw line.

Of course, statistics have never told the whole story about Jordan Mincy. The senior guard is known for his defense, his ability to run an offense and his scrappiness; he’s not known for his ability to hit the 3.

Lately, however, the statistics have backed up Mincy’s worth to the team.

He scored nine points in the Flashes’ 61-57 victory over Central Michigan.

In the team’s past six games – all wins – Mincy is averaging 7.8 ppg. I didn’t look it up, but I can say with confidence that that’s the best scoring stretch of Mincy’s career.

And it’s not just that Mincy is scoring points that’s so impressive – it’s when and how he’s scoring them.

Saturday, Mincy ignited an early lead for the Flashes by scoring the team’s first seven points on a long jumper, a driving layup and a 3-pointer.

His only other points came with Kent State clinging to a two-point lead in the second half. Mincy stole the ball from Central Michigan’s Jacolby Hardiman, drove the length of the floor and laid the ball in. About six minutes later, that slim two-point lead was a wide 13-point advantage.

But Mincy’s biggest contributions Saturday can’t be measured by a stat sheet. His energy provided a spark to what coach Geno Ford called a “leg-heavy” team. On defense, he harassed Robbie Harman, Central Michigan’s one healthy point guard.

Perhaps most importantly, Mincy’s offensive performance helped open up lanes for teammates to score. Senior Al Fisher scored 18 points against the Chippewas. Juniors Tyree Evans and Chris Singletary have also benefited in recent weeks from Mincy’s newfound offense.

“Jordan coming in and hitting shots has opened up things for the entire team,” Fisher said. “We’ve been trying to tell him the whole season: ‘Hey, score. You can do it.’ Now he’s just stepping up with confidence … and it’s working out exactly how we planned.”

Who knows how long Mincy’s offensive explosion will last? After he drained his first 3-point attempt Saturday night, he missed his next three – one of which was an air ball.

A better question, however, is who cares when Mincy’s offense goes back to the norm? He has helped lead the Flashes to two conference championships in his career by doing what he does best: managing the offense and playing scrappy defense.

And he always seems to make the plays the team needs when it needs them, whether it’s scoring the first seven points of a game or diving on the floor for a loose ball.

Central Michigan coach Ernie Zeigler put it best after the game Saturday night.

“Mincy is a senior winner,” Zeigler said. “He’s a kid who’s been on championship teams and understands what his role is. He does an excellent job of pressuring the ball … he’s a good player.”

That’s why Mincy got the largest ovation from the M.A.C. Center crowd when he was introduced the other night. That’s his true legacy.

No, Mincy isn’t known for his offense. He’s known for winning basketball games.

And tell me: What would you rather be known for?

Contact sports editor Doug Gulasy at [email protected].