With just over a minute left in today’s game at Toledo, the Kent State men”s basketball team led the Rockets 56-51. It seemed like the Flashes would escape Savage Hall with a victory.
Of course, things aren’t always what they seem.
An 8-0 Toledo run, led by guard Tyrone Kent with six points and helped by several mistakes by the Flashes, gave the Rockets a 59-56 victory.
“We played hard and we played very unintelligent, and we didn’t complete the game,” Kent State coach Jim Christian said.
Junior guard Al Fisher’s two free throws gave the Flashes (17-5, 6-2 Mid-American Conference) a 56-51 lead with 1:15 left.
But at the other end of the court, junior guard Jordan Mincy fouled Kent as he attempted a 3-pointer. Kent’s subsequent three free throws cut the Kent State lead to two with 1:06 remaining.
“It’s a bad foul; you have a five-point lead with 1:10 to go,” Christian said. “The worst thing you can do is foul a 3-point shooter ever, and we just can’t do that. We’ve got to be smarter than that. You can’t give the ref a chance to call a foul.”
Fisher turned the ball over on the next possession, giving Toledo a 3-on-1 fast break. The Rockets missed the first shot attempt but got a putback to tie the score with 26 seconds left.
The Flashes still had a chance to win the game or just go to overtime, and they called a timeout to come up with a play.
But Fisher lost the ball in the paint, giving the Rockets another fast-break opportunity.
A long pass from halfcourt barely eluded Flashes senior forward Mike Scott and instead found the hands of Kent, who dunked it while being fouled with 0.1 seconds left. He completed the 3-point play, and the Flashes’ desperation long inbounds pass was intercepted.
“The game plan was to get the last shot and get Al Fisher coming off a ball screen in the middle of the floor,” Christian said. “They ran at him and we had a guy wide open in the corner (sophomore guard Mike McKee), and he just turned the ball over.”
The Flashes struggled with turnovers all game. They committed 22 overall, the second-highest total for them this season.
“We weren’t being strong with the ball,” Scott said. “”We were getting hands on it, they were getting hands on it and they were coming out with it. That’s what they do; that’s how they play. They”re scrappy.”
Kent State trailed 29-28 at halftime and by as many as seven points in the second half, but the Flashes came back.
The second half went back and forth with runs, and an 8-0 run for the Flashes, keyed by four points from Fisher, gave them their 56-51 lead.
“We put ourselves in a position to win against a really good team at home; they play really well at home,” Scott said. “Things just obviously went their way.we have to do a better job simply finishing games.”
Fisher led the Flashes with 18 points and sophomore guard Chris Singletary added 13.