Flashes impress in preseason tune-up

Doug Gulasy

Kent State senior forward Mike Scott dunks against Hiram College Saturday afternoon at the M.A.C. Center. The Golden Flashes defeated Hiram 92-65. Daniel Owen | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

Senior forward Mike Scott fought through two defenders and laid the basketball into the hoop to give the Kent State men’s basketball team a 2-0 lead Saturday.

The game was an exhibition, not a regular season one, and the Flashes were playing the Hiram Terriers in front of 876 people at the M.A.C. Center, not Akron at a sold-out arena.

However, Scott’s score was the first of many for the Flashes in a 92-65 victory that served as a tune-up before the regular season begins Saturday in Detroit.

The game also gave coach Jim Christian a little insight into just what he’ll be working with for the next five months.

“(It’s) hard to get an overall impression,” he said. “We’re playing a lot of different combinations that we’ll never see out there again, trying to get everybody in . I thought some guys played well, I thought at times, defensively, we looked good (and) at times, we looked really bad. It’s hard to judge.”

Kent State put the game away in the first half, breaking open an early close score with runs of 9-0 and 18-2. The Flashes led 51-27 at halftime and shot nearly 61 percent from the field in the first half.

For the game, the Flashes had a 50-35 rebounding advantage over Hiram and outscored the Terriers 64-18 in the paint and 22-4 on fast breaks.

Twelve different Flashes scored; the only player who didn’t record a point was junior center Gabe Garcia, who had one rebound in limited action. Junior forward Rashad Woods led the team with 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting.

Christian said it was good to see Woods playing like he did.

“He has not been aggressive like that, so it was good to see him feel a little comfortable (and) get aggressive.”

Christian said Woods was still learning Kent State’s system after transferring from Lee College in Texas, but that “he put into play (Saturday) some of the things we’ve been encouraging him to do.”

Also “very encouraging” for Christian to see was his team playing what he called unselfish basketball. The Flashes had 24 assists and committed just 12 turnovers in the game.

The main area where Hiram did damage Saturday was in its three-point shooting. The Terriers made 10 three-pointers, led by senior Michael McDevitt, who scored 22 points and shot 6-of-7 from behind the arc.

“They’re a small team, so it’s hard to guard (them),” Christian said. “Some of our bigger guys were getting out there too slow, and they shot the ball well.

“But that’s something we’ve got too get better at, no question about it. We can’t let teams get that many threes. Some of them were on the break. Things that we’ve been really good at, we were poor at (Saturday), for whatever reason.”

Scott, one of two seniors on Kent State’s team, scored 13 points and sophomore guard Rodriquez Sherman added 10 for the Flashes.

Christian said his major concern with the final exhibition game was his team coming out of it healthy and that overanalyzing the game wouldn’t do much.

“A lot of our key guys didn’t play a lot of minutes,” he said. “That’s why they’re exhibition games — it’s what it is. It’s the same way everywhere in the country. We’ve just got a lot of work to do and get to work on Monday and get going.”

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