Flashes hold off YSU rallying

Doug Gulasy

Golden Flashes’ junior guard Jordan Mincy gets tripped up while driving past a Youngstown State defender in the second half of the Golden Flashes 59-52 defeat of the Penguins last night in Youngstown. DANIEL OWEN | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

The Kent State men’s basketball team almost let it slip away, but Al Fisher wouldn’t let it happen.

The Flashes led by 18 points at halftime, but poor second-half shooting meant they needed to weather a late Youngstown State comeback before winning 59-52 last night at the Beeghly Center in Youngstown.

“Anytime you go on the road, teams are going to go on a run,” Kent State coach Jim Christian said. “You can’t have the lull in the game that we had.”

Fisher, a junior guard, provided the offensive spark in the second half by scoring 11 of his team-high 16 points after halftime. As the Penguins came back, Fisher hit several key shots to keep the Flashes in the lead.

With the score 48-40 and under four minutes remaining, Fisher hit a long 3-pointer from the left wing. He then beat a Youngstown State trap and hit a floater to make the score 55-48 with 1:22 left.

He wasn’t done yet. He hit a leaning jumper in the lane with 24 seconds left to make the score 57-52. Then senior Mike Scott blocked a Youngstown State jump shot and the ball ended up in Fisher’s hands.

Fisher was fouled and hit two free throws with 11 seconds left. Game over.

“It’s always a team effort,” Fisher said. “It’s just that I had a couple open plays so I took them, and I made some.”

The Flashes shot 61.5 percent in the first half to take a 36-18 halftime lead but couldn’t seem to make any shots early in the second.

Kent State made just one field goal in the first 12 minutes of the second half but still led 40-32, mainly because its defense was stifling the Penguins.

“We were getting good shots – we missed four or five layups in that stretch,” Christian said. “.You’re going to go through stretches where the ball doesn’t go in, but you have to still guard. That’s why we maintained the lead.”

For the game, the Flashes held Youngstown State to 32 percent shooting. Senior forward Haminn Quaintance led the defensive effort with five steals and five blocks to go along with his 12 points and four rebounds.

“He’s doing what he does,” Christian said of Quaintance. “He’s doing it in the confines of what we want to do. He’s seeing a lot of plays, he’s using his athleticism to his advantage and he’s just making plays.”

The one area where Christian did say the defense struggled, especially in the second half, was in its rebounding. Youngstown State grabbed 15 offensive rebounds in the game and scored 14 second-chance points.

The Flashes return to action against George Mason on Saturday. The game starts at 2 p.m. in the M.A.C. Center.

Contact men’s basketball reporter Doug Gulasy at [email protected]