Men’s Basketball Wins Close Game

Jeff Russ

37 seconds left, game tied.


2,507 people at the M.A.C. Center are standing and cheering as junior guard Al Fisher drives to the basket.

10, 9, 8. Fisher puts the ball up, kisses it off the glass and Kent State takes the lead.

IPFW senior guard Demetrius Johnson throws up a three, no good, and the Flashes win an exciting game.

“There was 37 seconds left, so we wanted the last shot,” Kent State coach Jim Christian said. “They put a new guy into the game, so we wanted to make him have to defend something, so we put the ball in Al’s hands, our most creative player. We wanted him to get the ball into the hole. We wanted to get it down to about seven seconds so we can either tip the ball or score. That was a good play by (Fisher).”

Following a long layoff, the Kent State men’s basketball team defeated IPFW 72-70 Thursday night at the M.A.C. Center.

It had been 11 days since the Flashes (9-2) last played. In the first half, the Flashes got off to a slow start, not hitting a field goal in the first eight minutes of the game, committing ten turnovers in the half and shooting only 42 percent from the floor.

“Any time you have that long of layoff it’s tough,” Christian said. “Not taking care of the basketball, one thing we have been doing well, in first half we did a really poor job of. We had ten turnovers at halftime and that led to some easy opportunities for them.”

But the defense stepped up and played hard in the first half, forcing nine IPFW turnovers.

All-in-all, the Flashes forced 16 IPFW turnovers.

“That was one thing we did really well tonight,” Christian said. “There were a lot of things we did really well that we did really poor tonight that we need to get better at.”

In the second half, the two teams went back and fourth the majority of the first ten minutes until the Flashes senior forward Mike Scott hit two shots and sophomore forward Rodriguez Sherman hit a three to build a nine point lead with 8 minutes left.

IPFW would fight back, eventually tying the game with three minutes left. With 1:03 left the Mastodons took a 70-68 lead. His team’s resiliency surprised IPFW coach Dan Fife.

“As much as a week ago I wouldn’t have seen this (resiliency),” he said. “It was a good example of a team fighting a clawing its way back.”

The Flashes would eventually come back. A Mike Scott tip-in tied the game and eventually Fisher’s layup would win the game.

Mike Scott was the leading scorer for the Flashes with 22 points. He also let his presence be felt down low with 16 rebounds.

“I credit everything to my teammates,” he said. “None of that would have been possible without them, assists, things like that. I was a team effort. I take no credit for it.”

His coach wasn’t about to be so modest for Scott.

“He is so focused,” Christian said. “He’s playing with so much confidence and that’s why he’s having the season he is having.”

Now the Flashes have another long layoff until its next game, December 29 versus Cleveland State at the M.A.C. Center.

Game Notes

Hitting the free ones.

One of the major differences between the two teams was free throw shooting. IPFW hit only 9-20 free throws while Kent State hit 17 of 24. “It was crucial,” Fife said. “It has psychological effects. I would like to see us hit a higher percentage. Kent State made its shots and we didn’t.”

Welcome back

IPFW senior guard Demetrius Johnson returned to the M.A.C. Center for the first time since he transferred to the school from Kent State. Before the game, he received a loud positive ovation from the 2,507 fans in attendance. “I felt good coming back,” he said. “I wanted to win but I didn’t accomplish that tonight.” His former teammates were happy to see him. “He is still a real close friend of mine and I wish him the best,” Scott said. “When he was here he used to kill me in practice.”

Contact sports reporter Jeff Russ at [email protected].