Smith does it again

Deanna Stevens

For the second time this season, senior’s last-second shot ousts Ohio

Senior guard Omni Smith drives to the hoop against Ohio Saturday. Smith hit a game-winning shot with 3.5 seconds left in regulation to give Kent a 73-71 win. The win was Kent State’s tenth victory in their last 11 games. DANIEL OWEN | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Jason Hall

In the Kent State men’s basketball team’s second match up with Ohio, the venue was different, but the dramatic outcome was the same.

Once again, the Flashes needed last-second heroics, and once again, senior guard Omni Smith came to the rescue.

At the M.A.C. Center Jan. 14, Smith’s shot with four seconds remaining in overtime gave the Flashes a 67-65 win. Saturday at the Convocation Center, Smith hit a floater with 3.5 seconds left to give the Flashes the 73-71 win.

“When it left my hands, I thought it felt good,” Smith said. “But you never know – the floater is a 50-50 shot.”

Tied at 71 with 27 seconds left, the Flashes had possession and worked the clock for a final shot.

After nearly losing the ball twice, Smith regained his composure and threw up the shot. He said he realized the shot clock was about to expire, and he just wanted to get the ball to the rim and give his team a chance to grab an offensive rebound.

“It was just a great shot by a guy who is playing really well,” Kent State coach Jim Christian said. “It was a runner, off-balanced, in traffic.”

Down by as many as 11 points with 14 minutes remaining, the Flashes chipped away at Ohio’s lead, but the Bobcats did not give in. Ohio shot 50 percent from the field and had five players score in double digits.

Ohio senior Sonny Troutman scored 17 points, but he also turned the ball over seven times.

One of Troutman’s turnovers came during the last minute when his pass was intercepted by freshman guard Rodriquez Sherman.

Sherman was fouled on the breakaway, and split his free throws, tying the game at 71.

Junior Bobcat guard Bubba Walther also committed a crucial turnover when his errant pass went out of bounds with 38 seconds remaining.

Kent State hadn’t led since the 8:38 mark in the first half, but the Walther turnover set the stage for Smith’s floater.

“We both felt like it was in the air for seven minutes,” Christian said. “It was just a big-time shot.”

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