12 ways to beat a Falcon

Jeff Russ

Twelve is a good number.

Kent State junior guard Al Fisher passes around Bowling Green freshman forward Chris Knight and junior forward Nate Miller during the Flashes’ 63-49 defeat of the Falcons Saturday night at the MAC Center. Daniel Owen | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

It’s a dozen eggs, a dozen doughnuts, the perfect amount of hot wings and the amount of roses that say “I’m sorry.”

Saturday at the M.A.C. Center, it was the perfect number to establish a big conference victory for the men’s basketball team.

The Flashes defeated Bowling Green 63-49 with good defense and a fast start.

The Flashes (13-3, 2-0) came out quick, scoring the game’s first 12 points and playing tough defense on the Falcons. The Flashes haven’t started from the tipoff that quickly lately, and the players thought the quick start benefited them.

“It definitely helped,” senior forward Mike Scott said. “We’ve been getting out to slow starts recently, so it was good to see us back in action and imposing our will like we should.”

The quick start allowed the Flashes to bring a lot of players off the bench early, and when Bowling Green went on a run midway through the first half to cut Kent State’s lead to six, the Flashes starting five went on another run and went into the half up 30-20.

“(Kent State) won’t beat themselves,” Bowling Green coach Louis Orr said. “We spotted them 12 points early, and you can’t do that to this team. They are too much of a veteran, experienced team.”

Any chance of the Falcons making a comeback was crushed early in the second half when the Flashes built up a 15-point lead, hitting a lot of big 3-pointers and taking the ball and getting to the line. One player who put the ball in the hoop was sophomore guard Chris Singletary, who led the Flashes with 20 points. He wasn’t afraid to use his strength to challenge the Bowling Green defenders. For Singletary, the strength is all-natural.

“Last year was the first year I ever lifted,” he said. “Most of it is natural and the will to play strong. Some people are not strong physically, but they play really strong.”

Starting just his fourth game of the season, Singletary is playing with the potential his teammates always saw in him.

“When he was a freshman I told him, ‘You’re going to be a great player,'” Scott said. “He played very, very well tonight, and he has a bright future. As long as he stays focused, the doors will open up for him.”

Another key for the Flashes was defense. Led by Singletary’s five steals, the Flashes forced 16 Bowling Green turnovers and the Falcons’ lowest point total of the season. From the opening tip to the final shot, the Flashes played defense at a level that pleases coach Jim Christian.

“Everything we do is fueled from our defense,” he said. “When we stop people, we are able to attack you and that’s what we do.”

Kent State is now 2-0 in Mid-American Conference play. Christian said the 14-point victory in the MAC is impressive.

“All over the country, you watch conference games and they are close,” he said. “We knew Bowling Green would come to compete. They play extremely hard, they’re a great defensive team, and we’re lucky to come out of here with a victory.”

Game Notes

“Q” Banged Up

Senior forward Haminn Quaintance was in the starting lineup despite not practicing all week due to a sore shoulder suffered Jan. 9 against Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Quaintance came into the game second on the team averaging 12 points per game. Quaintance scored six points, grabbed six rebounds and had four assists.

Undefeated at the M.A.C. Center

Kent State is now 10-0 at home on the season. “To this stage, this team has done what it has set out to do,” Christian said. “They’ve played very well at home, defended the home court well, when we had opportunities on the road we’ve taken advantage of them and we’ve beaten some good basketball teams. That’s all you could have wanted at this point.”

Going on the road

The Flashes travel south next weekend for games at Miami and Ohio on Thursday and Saturday. Kent State is 2-2 on the road this season. “It’s going to be a challenge,” Scott said. “It’s a telling stretch. It’s a long MAC season, but I think if we get these next couple games, we’ll be in a position to take it all.”

It’s on TV

Saturday’s 6 p.m. game at Ohio will appear on ESPN Classic, making it the second game this season that the Flashes have appeared on national television. The Flashes lost to No. 1 North Carolina 90-61 on Jan. 2; that game was televised on ESPN.

Contact sports editor Jeff Russ at [email protected].