Kent State opens season in Detroit

Doug Gulasy

Men’s basketball player Mike Scott is excited for the regular season to begin.

“It’s my last year, (and) I feel like it’s going to be a very, very special year,” the senior forward said. “I’m just ready to stop (this) practicing — I’m tired of playing against my teammates. I’m ready to go out there and see what we can do against another team.”

Scott will get his chance when the Flashes begin their season by playing a road game against the Detroit Titans tomorrow at 7 p.m.

“We’re playing a great basketball team in Detroit in an environment that is very, very difficult to win (in),” Kent State coach Jim Christian said. “So we’re going to have to come out and be focused and play hard for 40 minutes.”

The Flashes defeated the Titans 61-48 last season. In that game, the Flashes held Detroit to 38 percent shooting.

Still, the Titans had a lead with less than six minutes remaining in the first half before the Flashes went on a 15-2 run to take control.

Christian said Detroit’s physicality was one of its strengths.

“They play a very physical style of play,” he said. “They have some great individual offensive performers and ability in (senior guard) Brandon Cotton (among others). Those guys are guys who could put up big numbers if they get it going, so we’ve got to be aware of those guys and the rest of the team.”

Cotton, a three-time All-Horizon League player, averaged 18.1 points per game last season, but scored just 14 points on 6-of-16 shooting in the Titans’ loss to the Flashes a season ago.

Nonetheless, he will provide a test for a Kent State defense that allowed Hiram to hit 10 of its 20 3-point attempts in an exhibition game Saturday.

“Defensively, we weren’t as good

(Saturday) as we were the first time we played,” Christian said. “So we need to carry that over to this game and just get better.”

Scott said that some players might have opening-day jitters, especially since the team hasn’t yet meshed completely. However, he added the jitters would go away after “one time up and down the court.”

“When they’re calling your name, everybody’s excited, and you’re in the locker room chanting stuff,” he said. “So once you go out there, you run up and down one time (and) you get a little tired, those jitters are gone.”

As for opening up the season on the road, Scott said “it’s definitely a challenge.”

“When you’re at home, you’re a lot more comfortable,” he said. “Starting off on the road — we still have to mesh as a team, and then having the distraction of being away from your home adds another task that has to be conquered. But we’ll be fine.”

Christian said one of the major things he wants is for his team to “do the things that we practice.”

“I think our team is improving and getting better and I just want to see that carry over to the game,” he said. “That’s what all coaches want early in the year. You just want to see the things that you’ve emphasized in practice — have (the players) display that in the game. If they do that, then we’ll have an opportunity.”

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Doug Gulasy at [email protected].