Flashes avoid turnovers, beat George Mason by 18

Doug Gulasy

Earlier this week, junior guard Al Fisher said the Kent State men’s basketball team needed to “value the ball” against George Mason.

The Flashes did just that, committing only five turnovers in a 73-55 victory Saturday at the M.A.C. Center.

“We definitely valued the ball,” Fisher said. “They like getting in the passing lanes, so we just had to emphasize that more and make sure we didn’t throw any dumb passes (and) execute the plays.”

Kent State had 17 assists to its five turnovers. George Mason was on the opposite end of the spectrum with just eight assists and 13 turnovers.

“I thought the game really came down to one category, and that’s assists to turnovers,” George Mason coach Jim Larranaga said. “Kent did a great job of distributing the ball and finding the open man.”

In the first half, the Flashes had to deal with a hot-shooting George Mason team. The Patriots made six of their first seven shots and finished the first half 12-of-18 from the field.

Still, the Flashes shot 51.9 percent (14-of-27) before halftime to take a 38-32 lead into the break.

“The shots (George Mason) made–there were some really tough shots,” Kent State coach Jim Christian said. “There were some simple things that we didn’t execute early in the game, but after that they hit some really difficult shots and that’s what good teams do.”

That high percentage for George Mason dropped considerably after halftime. The Patriots shot just 33.3 percent (8-of-24) in the second half. George Mason senior forward Will Thomas scored 11 points in the first half but just one after the break.

Sophomore guard Chris Singletary made his presence felt on the defensive end early in the second half.

First, he came up behind George Mason guard Jordan Carter and knocked the ball out of Carter’s hands and out of bounds. Then he blocked a Will Thomas shot after the Patriots brought the ball in bounds.

“I’ve been having a bad week personally, but I just had to put that aside and come out fiery today and just play defense and try to bring some energy,” Singletary said.

Meanwhile, the Flashes went on runs of 13-3 and 11-1 to take control of the game. They led by as many as 20 points in the second half and never really let the Patriots get back into the game.

“The last couple of games, we’ve been talking about finishing the game out and whatnot,” Singletary said. “We played a (good first) half and in the locker room, we were talking about coming out the next 20 minutes and also playing a good half.”

Fisher led the Flashes with 17 points, which included a banked 3-pointer as the shot clock expired midway through the first half. The 3-pointer sparked the Flashes on a 13-3 run.

“It was the end of the shot clock; I just shot it,” Fisher said.

Senior forwards Mike Scott and Haminn Quaintance joined Fisher in double figures with 10 points apiece, with Quaintance adding 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.

Christian said he was happy that everyone who played contributed.

“To beat a good team, you’ve got to get contributions from everybody, and that’s what we got,” he said. “.Everybody came to play, everybody was into the game and everybody contributed. And that helps our team grow.”

Contact basketball reporter Doug Gulasy at [email protected]