Revamped Flashes win again

Deanna Stevens

Sullinger, Singletary please M.A.C. Center fans


Two Mid-American Conference heavyweights went blow for blow at the M.A.C. Center Tuesday night. But Kent State prevailed, 64-60, knocking out Toledo with Chris Singletary’s last-second punch.

Down by two with 33 seconds left, the Rockets were desperate for one more possession and had to foul the Flashes on the inbound. Singletary, coming off of a lay-up to put Kent State up by two with about 30 seconds remaining, was chosen to step to the line.

The freshman guard made both free throws and pushed the Flashes’ lead to four, securing the team’s sixth consecutive win.

Kent State and Toledo traded baskets during the game’s final minute-plus.

Senior guard Omni Smith gave the Flashes a two-point lead after losing his defender and driving through an open lane with just over one minute remaining. Smith finished the game with 13 points off the bench. Not to be outdone, Toledo foward Florentino Valencia tied the game at 60 in the next possession.

“In a game like that, it’s going to be whichever team refuses to lose at that particular stretch,” Kent State coach Jim Christian said. “Guys got the big stop at the end of the game that they had to get.”

Toledo coach Stan Joplin said Kent State earned the win during that period.

“They executed a little bit better than we did down the stretch,” Joplin said.

Sophomore foward Julian Sullinger and freshman guard Rodriguez Sherman both made their presence felt on the floor.

Sullinger led the Flashes with 17 points, all of which came from the post. The Flashes dominated the Rockets overall in post play, outscoring them 42-20.

The defensive presence of junior forwards Mike Scott and Haminn Quaintance around the basket kept the Rockets on the perimeter. Scott and Quaintance combined for six blocks.

Sherman had four points and two assists, and one pass he made set up Singletary’s lay-up, giving the Flashes a two-point lead with 30 seconds to go.

“I heard (Omni) calling me on the left side,” Sherman said. “And coach always says to take one more dribble and see if something opens up, and I saw Chris and passed it, and it actually felt better than scoring.”

Christian said the underclassman showed real maturity.

“They wanted the ball in key situations” Christian said. “They made the right decisions defensively. They followed the game plan very well at critical times of the game. And those little things are big things.”

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