WATCH Men’s basketball defeats Muskingum in exhibition

Josh Johnston

WATCH the video from the game.

The Kent State men’s basketball team defeated Muskingum College 72-53 last night in an exhibition game at the M.A.C. Center.

Kent State coach Geno Ford said he saw both positives and negatives from his team, which will start regular season play next Monday.

“We played well in stretches and struggled in stretches,” Ford said. “We don’t have great team toughness, but we’ve got some guys who have good individual toughness.”

Senior guard Al Fisher, the returning Mid-American Conference Player of the Year, led all scorers with 21 points. After a slow preseason from Fisher, last night’s performance was encouraging to see, Ford said.

“Al was good,” he said. “To be honest, Al has had a subpar preseason. I’m sure he’ll admit that. He’s not played near the level we expect from Al. Tonight I thought he was right on track.”

Seeing significant playing time was junior center Brandon Parks, who could take over the post job this season with Haminn Quaintance graduated. Parks had a hand in most of the Flashes’ early offensive possessions and scored nine points.

“I thought Brandon did a good job posting up,” Ford said. “Brandon’s got to develop into a post player for us. A year ago, ‘Q’ was an unbelievable player. So many things that he gave us we can’t simulate. We’re not going to ever this year find a guy that’s going to defend like that, rebound in traffic like that or pass like that.”

Parks, along with freshman forward Justin Greene, need to be able to score at the back of the basket to offset the loss of Quaintance, Ford said.

The last five minutes of the game were played entirely by Kent State’s four freshmen – forwards Greene, Antonio DiMaria and Alex Grimsley and guard Cameron Joyce – as well as senior Rashad Woods. While Ford said he wasn’t happy with Muskingum outscoring the Flashes 12-2 in the final minutes, he was pleased about his team’s physical toughness.

“A lot of people think you can get guys to play hard,” Ford said, “but if you’re not tough, it’s not going to happen. I am encouraged of the fact that they made some hustle plays, they dove for loss balls, took charges, but the execution side of it was, to call it poor would be kind.”

Next week the Flashes will begin regular season play by hosting North Carolina Central at the M.A.C. Center. After the exhibition game, Ford said the team still has a lot of work to do.

“The bottom line is, we’ve got a long way to go,” he said. “We’re nowhere close to a championship team right now. Nowhere close.”

Contact sports reporter Josh Johnston at [email protected].