Flashes fall to Zips in semifinals

Deanna Stevens


Credit: DKS Editors

The halves were reversed, but the outcome was the same.

The Kent State men’s basketball team was eliminated from the Mid-American Conference tournament by rival Akron, 61-54, in the semifinal round last night at Quicken Loans Arena.

“It was a game of two halves,” Kent State coach Jim Christian said. “For both teams.”

In a game eerily similar to last week’s backyard showdown, one team dominated in the first half. Last week, it was Akron. Last night, it was the Flashes.

With just under 10 minutes remaining the in first half, the game was tied at 11 when junior forward Mike Scott hit a fade-away jumper to spark a 20-4 run for the Flashes, who took a 14-point cushion into halftime, 33-19.

“We knew they were going to make a run,” Scott said. “And we didn’t weather the storm. We lost our composure and started turning the ball over and making silly mistakes.”

Scott led the Flashes with 14 points and seven rebounds. Freshman guard Chris Singletary added 11 points and 10 rebounds.

“Kent State gave us a whooping in the first half,” Akron coach Keith Dambrot said. “They really wore us down physically and mentally.”

Kent State shot 46 percent from the field in the first half and outrebounded the Zips, 21-12. The Zips shot only 26 percent in the first half.

But while Kent State dominated in the first, the Zips came out firing in the second.

Akron began the second half with a 16-5 run to pull within three points at the 13-minute mark. Akron junior forward Jeremiah Wood led the rally with seven points, and Akron junior guard Nick Dials hit two 3-pointers in front of Akron’s bench.

Wood finished with a game-high 19 points and added eight rebounds.

“We needed to get one or two shots to fall just to get our composure back,” Kent State coach Jim Christian said. “And that just didn’t happen.”

Akron then kept their momentum going, scoring seven straight points to take over the lead with just over 10 minutes remaining. They added another nine points before the Flashes hit a basket.

Kent State was held scoreless for nearly eight minutes in the second half, hitting just three field goals in the first 19 minutes.

“In the first half, we could beat anybody in the country,” Christian said. “In the second half, anybody in the country could have beaten us.”

Contact men’s basketball reporter Deanna Stevens at [email protected]