The long weekend

Joe Harrington

Ohio was a hiccup (whistle). A blemish on the Kent State men’s basketball team’s record (whistle). Another tough loss (whistle). Ohio was one of those games where the players get back on the bus, punch the Air Supply playlist on the iPod and forget about the 71-59 loss (whistle).

Miami was one of those games that the Kent State men’s basketball team dominated from tipoff to the final horn last Thursday (layup). The Flashes shot the ball well (layup). Junior guard Al Fisher scored a career high in points, 23, and the Flashes won 74-62 (layup).

This past weekend was an important stretch for the Flashes. Miami has played arguably the toughest non-conference schedule in the MAC, and they did fairly well, beating Xavier and Big Ten powerhouse Illinois. Of course, it’s a true testament to how tough the MAC is when the RedHawks open the MAC season with three straight losses. Ohio beat a Maryland team that defeated No.1 North Carolina minutes before the Bobcats took the court against the Flashes Saturday.

So the Flashes didn’t win every game this weekend — it doesn’t matter. Beating the defending MAC tournament champions, Miami, then coming back from a 17-point deficit to actually make the Ohio game competitive was still impressive.

The thing this team can learn from the Ohio loss is that turnovers can eventually bury a team. How do we know this: remember how turnovers destroyed the Kent State football team?

Against Miami, the Flashes looked like the best team in the MAC, and Al Fisher looked like the best point guard in the MAC.

Speaking of Fisher, he has become the most important player on this team. Big men can take a team far, but point guards win a team championships. If Rashad Woods and Rodriquez Sherman keep passing up open 3-point shots with the team down by five with a minute left, Fisher will emerge as the only guy with the confidence to take that game winning shot. Although the floating jump-shot he took on Saturday late in the game probably wasn’t what Kent State coach Jim Christian wanted, but he has to be encouraged that Fisher knew he had to do something with the ball.

If Fisher continues to play at this level, maybe becoming more consistent (he had only four points in the first half against Ohio, and went on to score 15 in the game), he will be a shoe-in for the All-MAC East team.

Now the Flashes will regroup and play some team tomorrow called the Zips from that one city 14 miles away. If the Flashes play like they did last Thursday, they’ll win (another layup for 20 wins in 10 season). Of course, if they play like they did on Saturday, well, another tough loss (whistle).

Contact assistant sports editor Joe Harrington at [email protected].