Flashes to face Broncos in quarterfinals

Deanna Stevens

Kent State Flasher Brass pep band cheers on the team during the game against Akron on Sunday. The men will face the Broncos tonight at 9 p.m. LESLIE CUSANO | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Jason Hall

In its 66-64 overtime loss to Akron Sunday night, the Kent State men’s basketball team had one of its greatest tests of the season.

The Flashes came back from a 10-point halftime deficit to send the game into overtime, only to lose off a last-second layup by Akron’s Jeremiah Wood.

Now, with the Mid-American Conference Tournament at hand, Kent State coach Jim Christian said the team is ready.

“We’ve been through everything now,” Christian said. “We know what’s at stake.”

And what’s at stake is a MAC Tournament Championship, along with an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. To win the MAC tournament, Christian said the Flashes will have to play at their highest level.

“If we play and execute well, we can beat anyone in the league,” he said.

As the third seed in the tournament, the Flashes earned a first-round bye – placing them into today’s quarterfinal round.

The Flashes will face Western Michigan. The Broncos earned their spot in the quarterfinal after defeating the Huskies 67-62 last night.

Western Michigan gave Kent State its worst beating of the season, 79-57, at Kalamazoo Feb. 11.

But Christian said previous games don’t matter when it comes to the tournament.

“What’s happened before is thrown out of the window,” Christain said. “It’s a three-game season now.”

Because the Flashes did not know who they were going to face until last night, Christian said they spent the week focusing on their own game, not their future opponent’s.

Christian added that after shooting 6-33 from the field in the first half against Akron, they were “fine-tuning” the offense this week.

“We were a step off the pace last game,” Christian said. “We didn’t do all the little things, which turned into big things by the end of the game.”

The Flashes had won 11 out of their last 13 regular season games.

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