Singletary, McKee guide KSU win against Eagles

Joe Harrington

The Kent State men’s basketball team had a few surprises in store in last night’s 77-67 win against Eastern Michigan. One was the play of sophomore guard Mike McKee, who had a game high 19 points. The other was the play of sophomore guard Chris Singletary.

The athletic department suspended Singletary on Sunday after he was arrested and charged with a DUI Saturday morning. His status for last night’s game did not change until tip-off.

Singletary entered the game with 16:33 left to play in the first half but played only three minutes. Kent State coach Jim Christian said Singletary was a little out of sync but rallied around his teammates to finishes with 12 second-half points. Singletary was glad to experience some good news.

“It was big,” Singletary said. “I think the team needed me to bring the kind of things that I can bring to the court. I tried to put everything behind me tonight and play with some energy.”

Singletary wasn’t the only Flash to rebound against the Eagles. After scoring just one 3-pointer since the Buffalo game, McKee shot five-of-eight from the 3-point line and even dunked in the first half. Christian said he never lost faith in McKee and encouraged him to continue to shoot the ball.

“With Michael, he’s such a good shooter, and you knew he was going to come out of it,” Christian said. “Tonight he got a couple of good looks early and we went to him early and tried to get him going.”

McKee said coaches were supportive through his rough stretch and told him his shot would come back to him. Last night against the Eagles, it returned in a good way.

“A lot of things have been going through my head,” McKee said. “But (my shot) just felt good, the release off my hand, my legs – everything mechanically felt good,” McKee said. “Tonight it just felt good.”

With Singletary and McKee playing well, the Flashes jumped out to an early lead. Kent State capitalized off 14 Eastern Michigan turnovers to take a 39-26 lead into the half.

This is a change from the last three games, where the Flashes were down by double digits entering the half. Christian said not to focus on particular halves.

“Let’s be honest here, it’s a 30-game season here,” he said. “If you’re going to evaluate every half or five minutes, you’re never going to be happy.”

The way the game went in the second half, Christian probably won’t be too pleased. The Flashes seemed to lose their touch at the 3-point line and went from 66.7 percent (six-of-nine) in the first half to just 28.6 percent (4-of-14) in the second.

Meanwhile, the Eagles were able to chip away the Flashes’ large lead with a 19-7 run. The Eagles brought the game within five with 8:02 left to play.

But it was Singletary who saved the day and helped stop the run.

“It had a lot to do with Chris Singletary getting those boards and putting them back in and hitting clutch free-throws in that stretch,” McKee said. ” Not one play stands out, but Chris really helped us on that (stretch).

“It’s great to have him back. Chris is a great kid and we love him to death and we’re just glad to have him back.”

Contact assistant sports editor Joe Harrington

at [email protected].