Flashes misfire; YSU wins

Jonas Fortune

Three days after giving No. 6 ranked Duke University all they could handle, the Kent State men’s basketball team could not find its stroke or their confidence in a 62-58 loss to Youngstown State University at the MAC center Friday night.

“If you’re not there mentally, you can’t make plays,” head coach Jim Christian said after the loss. “And we weren’t there mentally from the opening tip to the end of the game.”

Although the Flashes came out firing, their aim was off Friday night. Missing their first six shots, Kent State displayed a trend that would appear for the rest of the game.

After opening the game with a scoring drought of nearly four minutes, Kent State seemed to come alive near the 12-minute mark when sophomore forward Isaac Knight intercepted a pass and ran the length of the floor for an uncontested dunk.

Red-shirt freshman Mike McKee followed suit on the very next play when he intercepted a Penguin pass and tied the game at 6 with a two-handed dunk.

From there, Kent State built an 11-point lead that shrunk to nine by the half and continued to dwindle as the game progressed.

When the final buzzer sounded, the Flashes had missed 12 of their final 14 shots, seven of them from 3-point range, allowing The Penguins to earn their first victory at the MAC Center since Dec. 5, 1956.

“We have to become committed to being the type of team we can be, and right now we aren’t doing that,” Christian said. “And that’s disappointing to me as a coach.”

Shooting just 20.7 percent from 3-point range Friday, the Flashes attempted 29 three-pointers and only connected on six. They also struggled inside the paint, getting out rebounded 38-32 by the smaller, yet more determined, Penguins.

“We just wanted to win more than they did,” said Youngstown State Senior guard Keston Roberts, who led all scorers with 22 points and eight rebounds. Friday marked the fifth game in a row that Roberts scored over 20 points.

Sophomore forward Jack Liles earned his first career double-double for the Penguins scoring 13 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.

The Flashes, on the other hand, were left scratching their heads.

Junior Mike Scott, who scored 13 points on the night, talked about the importance of commitment after the loss.

“It starts within,” Scott said. “You have to want it man, and if you don’t want it, it’s hard for someone to make you want it.”

Contact assistant sports editor Jonas Fortune at [email protected].