Right down to the wire

Chris Gates

Geno Ford says Fisher’s performance is the best he has ‘ever seen’

After the Kent State men’s basketball team’s 76-74 overtime victory at St. Louis on Wednesday, it was tough for anybody to talk down senior guard Al Fisher’s performance.

Kent State coach Geno Ford has coached for 10 years and said he was blown away by the way Fisher controlled the game’s final minutes.

“I can’t describe in words the way Fisher played down the stretch (Wednesday),” Ford said after the game. “It was the best offensive performance I have ever seen in person. He hit tough shot after tough shot and made all seven shots he took in overtime.

“It was like something you would see on ESPN Classic.”

Fisher scored 27 of the team’s final 28 points in the final five minutes of regulation and through overtime. He finished with 35 points, and his final shot went in with 2.1 seconds left.

“It was tied and we wanted to get that last shot,” Fisher said after the game. “I went a little early and got scared. My heart started beating real fast when that (last-second) half-court shot (by St. Louis) was in the air.

“Coach just told me, ‘We put you in this situation a lot of times last year, and we know you can perform.'”

The Flashes (2-0) will return home for a Sunday game against UNC Wilmington (2-1) and will have to move on from Wednesday’s thrilling victory.

The Seahawks are one of the highest-scoring teams in the nation thus far this season, posting more than 100 points twice in three games. In UNC Wilmington’s last game, No. 20 Wake Forest became the first team to prevent the Seahawks from posting triple digits on the scoreboard, holding them to “only” 88 points.

Ford said the Seahawks are underrated because in their three regular season games and one exhibition, he’s seen them play just one poor half of basketball.

The Game:


Where: The M.A.C. Center

When: 4:30 p.m. Sunday

Listen: www.BlackSquirrelRadio.com and WNIR 100.1 FM

“They’re a good team,” Ford said. “They’re certainly much better than I think people thought they would be. It’s scary because of the pace of the game they’ve been able to force.”

UNCW’s quick pace of play has been a result of its ability to force turnovers. The Seahawks have forced opponents to an average of 18 turnovers a game. However, their offense alone averages 16 per game.

“The one thing we’ve really tried to harp and preach to our guys is that we cannot be a team that turns the ball over,” Ford said.

The Flashes had just nine turnovers in Wednesday’s overtime victory, and Ford says a single-digit number in the turnover column Sunday is a must for the Flashes.

He also said defense, as it has been for the last 10 years, will be the focal point of the Flashes’ strategy on Sunday. Ford is specifically worried about the Seahawks’ ability to shoot from long distance. They average more than 13 three-pointers a game and are shooting nearly 40 percent from behind the arc.

On the flip side, Kent State has struggled in that department. The Flashes average just five three-pointers a game at a clip of 27.8 percent.

“When we come in to this game, we’re going to have to do some things a little differently than we’ve done in the previous two games,” Ford said. “Hopefully there will be a trust level there with the guys – among each other and with the staff – (and) we can make things happen on Sunday.”

Associate coach Rob Senderoff urged Kent State fans to come to the M.A.C. Center Sunday, as it is the last home game until Dec. 4, when St. Mary’s visits.

“For all the fans out there, we need you there Sunday – as many as we can get,” Senderoff said in a WNIR 100.1 FM post game interview Wednesday night. “It makes a difference. (St. Louis) had 7,000 people (there). It (got) loud, and the M.A.C. gets loud. We need you guys there to help support us and help cheer us on.

“If nothing else, Al’s a great guy to watch.”

Contact sports reporter Chris Gates at [email protected].