Flashes put Detroit behind them, focus on Hampton

Doug Gulasy

Kent State sophomore guard Mike McKee looks to pass to an open teammate Saturday night in Detroit. The University of Detroit Mercy defeated the Golden Flashes 61-60. DANIEL OWEN | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

Jim Christian, Kent State men’s basketball coach, doesn’t want a season-opening loss to Detroit to affect the rest of the season.

“We don’t dwell on it,” Christian said. “We come back here, we watch the tape, we see what we did wrong and we try to improve. (There’s a) lot of basketball left to be played, and we’ve got to come out and play Thursday night.”

The Flashes play Hampton tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the M.A.C. Center, in the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

Christian called the Pirates a “great basketball team.

“They’re unbelievably athletic – very, very, talented,” he said. “They’ll be one of the better teams we play all year, to be honest with you. They’re a team that you’re going to hear a lot about all year long and come March, without question.”

Hampton comes into tomorrow’s game with a 1-1 record. The Pirates defeated Tulsa 72-55 Sunday and narrowly lost, by a 70-64 score, to Maryland on Monday.

“Many of us saw them (Monday) night on ESPN play,” junior guard Jordan Mincy said. “We think they’d be a very good opponent to play against, and we’re looking forward to playing them.”

Hampton starts three players who are listed as 6-foot-8 or taller, but it’s 6-foot-1 senior guard Rashad West who leads the Pirates in scoring with 22.5 points per game. West scored 23 points and shot 5-w9 from 3-point range against Maryland.

Such 3-point shooting statistics could prove worrisome to a Kent State defense that gave up 58 percent (11-of-19) shooting from long range against Detroit.

Mincy said the Flashes have to play better defense by following assignments against Hampton.

“If we follow defensive assignments, then offense will come,” he said. “So we’re not worried too much about offense and who scores what scores, we’re worried about who scores for the other team.”Christian said the team took out of the Detroit game “what we take out of every game.”

“During the course of that game, there’s things that we did really well, and there’s things that we need to improve on,” Christian said. “That’s what we try to work on in practice. It’s the first game of the year, so there’s a lot of basketball to be played, and we need to get better.”

Mincy believes the Flashes will use their loss to Detroit as a learning experience, much as the Flashes did the last time they lost their first game, in 2005-06.

That season, the Flashes lost to Delaware State in their season opener but went on to win the Mid-American Conference tournament and advance to the NCAA Tournament.

“We took that as a learning experience that year, so I guess we’re just doing the same thing this year, taking it as a learning experience,” Mincy said. “Coach told us just bounce back, to look and just learn from that game so it never happens again.”

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