Tales from the baseline

Daniel Doherty

As a photographer, you get a feel for the game in a different way than sitting in the stands. On Wednesday night, the Kent State men’s basketball team suited up to face the Akron Zips. I could hear the deafening sounds of the fans screaming, “O-S-U Reject” to Akron guard Nick Dials. Or the loud booming voices of the “Q-saders” to Kent State guard Jordan Mincy, ” Smile for me Jordan, Let me see your Grill.” These are all things that you can hear from anywhere in the M.A.C. Center. However, the things that you can’t hear are the interactions from the court.

Prior to tip-off, the Kent State-Akron rivalry was apparent between the boroughs of Flashes fans and the bird’s nest of Zips fans. The game was taking a long time to develop, but the interactions were even slower. It didn’t take long before the pushing and shoving followed by Mincy’s signature growling on defense came into effect. We could have witnessed this as a sign of things to come, but I don’t think anyone anticipated what did happen.

Mid-American Conference official Rick Boyanges released a statement about what happened at the conclusion of the game.

“This is the sequence of events: 5.1 seconds, rebound, foul on number four blue (Akron’s Steve McNees). That is followed by a deadball contact technical foul on number one white (Kent State’s Haminn Quaintance) for pushing off.” Being apart of the melee was something very different than what this sounds like.

I was poised on the corner of the baseline right where the foul was committed, and I could give a different angle to Boyanges statement. After Quaintance reeled the loose ball in, Akron’s McNees threw a hard foul. What then ensued could strongly be considered melee.

“Q” retaliated with a push back and then the benches emptied. Without hesitation, those same boroughs that were echoing chants and vulgarities at the Akron players turned their words into debris as they pelted McNees with bottles, shoes and towels. Kent State Director of Athletics Laing Kennedy as well as Kent State coach Jim Christian were quick to join the many security guards in bringing the crowd to a regulatory level. Kennedy even went as far as to wrap up Kent and Akron players in order to help quiet the storm. As for the big question: Were punches thrown?

That might not ever be answered, but from a first hand experience I felt the wrath of someone’s backhand. When the melee subsided the Flashes pulled out the win 75-69.

As the first in a series of tales from the baseline entries, the game against the Zips will be a tough act to follow. But keep in mind we are only six wins away from our 10th 20-win season so it can only intensify from here.

Daniel Doherty is a photographer for the Daily Kent Stater and works with Black Squirrel Radio. You can reach him at [email protected].