The Flashes win their 1,000th game a week after 10 seasons with 20 wins

Thomas Gallick

Kent State junior guard Al Fisher gets fouled by a Buffalo defender in the Golden Flashes’ 76-66 win yesterday. BRIAN MARKS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

BUFFALO – From the opening shot, when senior forward Mike Scott drained a 3-pointer, the Kent State men’s basketball program’s 1,000th win was never in doubt.

The Flashes (22-5, 11-2 Mid-American Conference) defeated the Bulls 76-66 last night at Alumni Arena in Buffalo to achieve the millennium mark.

Sophomore guard Mike McKee said he enjoyed being on the court for the milestone victory.

“It’s awesome; 1,000 wins is a lot of wins,” McKee said. “Just to be a part of it is great. I’ll always have that with me.”

Kent State shot 51.9 percent from the floor, the fourth straight game that the Flashes have made more than half of their shots.

Junior guard Al Fisher led the team in scoring with 20 points and added a team-high six assists. Senior forwards Haminn Quaintance and Mike Scott also scored in double figures with 14 and 13 points.

McKee said the win was another example of the team really clicking at the end of the season as they begin to prepare for the MAC tournament.

“Now’s the time of year, coming down the stretch, where you need everybody to start chipping in and helping out,” McKee said.

The Flashes started off strong on offense and never relented, leading by as many as 19 in the first half and ending the half up 41-26. Kent State shot 55.6 percent from the floor in the first and held the Bulls to 33.3 percent shooting.

Coach Jim Christian said the team’s improved passing has been the key to shooting at such a high percentage.

“I think the one thing is we’re really finding the open man,” Christian said. “We’re patient (and) we’re able to make the extra pass. When you do that you get really good shots.”

Kent State controlled the pace of the game defensively after switching from man-to-man to zone defense early in the first half. The Bulls shot 39 percent from the floor in the game and 25 percent from the 3-point line.

The Flashes also won the turnover battle, forcing 17 Buffalo turnovers that led to 22 points. Kent State beat the Bulls in steals 15-5, including four by sophomore guard Chris Singletary. It was the most steals the Flashes have had this season.

The Bulls pulled within eight points late in the second half, after two 3-pointers by sophomore guard Sean Smiley, but Buffalo never really threatened with an extended run. One reason Buffalo could not pull closer to the Flashes was the 3-point shooting of McKee, who hit three key shots in the second half.

Christian said he was confident that McKee would be able to knock down the clutch shots.

“Mike’s a great shooter,” Christian said. “That’s what he’s in to do. I thought our guys did a great job of finding him (and) everyone was in rhythm. If he gets time and space he’s usually going to knock them in.”

The Flashes return to action Saturday when they travel to face No. 20 St. Mary’s in San Francisco in the ESPN BracketBuster game. Christian said the team is looking forward to playing the out-of-conference match late in the season.

“We’re excited about this opportunity because I don’t think enough people nationally have given our league respect,” Christian said. “I think this is an excellent basketball league . teams in our league are a lot better than people think.”

Contact sports reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].