Rock Chalk ruin

Jayhawks teach Flashes an early season lesson

Golden Flashes’ junior guard Chris Singletary attempts to wrestle the ball away from Kansas’ junior guard Brady Morningstar in first half action yesterday evening at Kansas State. PHOTO COURTESY OF JON GOERING | THE UNIVERSITY DAILY KANSAN

Credit: DKS Editors

READ yesterday’s live blog about the basketball game.

LAWRENCE, Kan. – After the chants, the alma mater and the 16,000 seats filled the field house, Kent State learned the difference between a good Mid-American Conference team and a legendary college basketball program.

Kent State lost 87-60 to Kansas, the defending NCAA national champions, last night at Allen Field House in Lawrence, Kan.

The Flashes kept the game close in the first half, and may have been able to take the lead at several points in the half. But with 14 first-half turnovers, the Flashes could never generate a lead.

Junior guard Chris Singletary led the Flashes in scoring in the first half with seven points, but he also led the team in turnovers with five. The Flashes never trailed by more than 15 points in the half, and came as close as 12-11 early in the game.

If the Flashes weren’t struggling to hold onto the ball, they were struggling to score in the paint. The Flashes, whose tallest player is junior Brandon Parks at 6 feet 10 inches tall, struggled against the taller Kansas front court. The Flashes were outscored 16-8 in the paint. However, the Flashes managed to out-rebound the Jayhawks 19-17 in the half.

Kansas sophomore center Cole Aldrich, one of several former McDonalds All-Americans while in high school, led all scorers in the first half with eight points.

But it was the final eight points that may have summed up the night. After a whistle was blown on a loose ball with .2 seconds remaining in the half, Aldrich took an alley-oop pass from freshman Tyshawn Taylor, another highly-recruited player, and slammed the ball through the hoop to put an end to the half with a score of 39-24.

The second half was different, but only for the Kent State struggles.

Instead of the turnovers, Kent State found itself in foul trouble. With more than 12 minutes to go in the game, the Flashes had already reached the free throw bonus, and Kansas spent most of the half at the foul line.

Kansas held a 20-point lead throughout the second half, which turned into a physical last 20 minutes. Four of the five starters for Kansas finished the game in double figures, with junior guard Sherron Collins leading the way with 19 points.

The Flashes made it a 16 point game with less than five minutes left, but Collins seemed to always answer the Kent State score with a drive to the lane. Collins also was perfect from the line, shooting 6-of-6 from the free throw line.

The Flashes finished the game with 20 turnovers, but they did see promise in junior college transfer Anthony Simpson who scored 10 points off the bench. Singletary, who has quietly become a clutch player in high-profile games such as this one and the NCAA tournament loss from last year, led Kent State with 13 points. Singletary was also solid from the free throw line shooting 6-of-9.

However, the reigning MAC player of the year, Al Fisher, struggled with just five points in the game. The senior also had five turnovers, three of which came in the second half.

The Flashes, who started the season 3-0, are now 3-3 after three consecutive losses to high-profiled conference teams, including back-to-back losses to Big XII teams.

Conact sports editor Brock Harrington at [email protected].