Flashes lose in double overtime

Sean Ammerman

Kent State junior forward Haminn Quaintance slam dunks while Temple forward Dion Dacons watches helpessly Tuesday night at the M.A.C. Center. Kent State went on to beat Temple 63-54. The Flashes fell to Butler 83-80 in double overtime Saturday. DAVID AN

Credit: Jason Hall

It took two overtime periods to decide Saturday’s match-up between the Kent State men’s basketball team and Butler in Indianapolis.

And when the clock ran out for the third time, Butler (7-0), fresh off winning the NIT Preseason Championship the night before over Gonzaga, managed to outlast Kent State (4-2) in an 83-80 victory.

The win came down to free throw shooting.

The Flashes took 32 shots from the line and missed 10. The Bulldogs, however, made 31 of their 39 free throws.

Shots from the line played an important role from the start of the game, as both teams struggled to make field goals in the first half. Butler shot 20 percent from the floor in the first half, while Kent State shot 33.3 percent.

The teams took to drawing fouls to generate points, and by the end of the game, two Butler players and three Kent State players fouled out.

The Flashes drew first blood with a 3-pointer from senior guard Armon Gates a minute into the game and continued to maintain a slim lead for most of regulation. Their biggest lead came in the beginning of the second half, when layups from sophomore forward Julian Sullinger and senior guard Omni Smith helped to nudge an 8-point lead.

Smith, who missed the past two games due to suspension, returned to play 30 minutes off the bench and grabbed 18 points, four rebounds and three assists.

Kent State’s 10-man roster outscored Butler 38-10 in bench points.

The Bulldogs didn’t see their first lead until there was 4:17 left in the game. From there the game had 10 lead changes and 10 ties.

The Flashes seemed to have the game back in hand when Smith nailed a 3-pointer with 19 seconds left in regulation to give his team a two-point lead.

However, Butler forward Brian Ligon put back a missed layup from guard A.J. Graves on the next possession to send the game into overtime.

The Flashes looked to be in better shape to win at the end of the first overtime.

With a one-point lead and 13 seconds remaining, Kent State junior forward Haminn Quaintance blocked a Butler layup and caught the rebound.

A subsequent foul sent Quaintance to the line, where he made both free throws.

The Flashes had 11 seconds to defend their three-point lead, but Graves needed only five seconds to tie the game with a 3-pointer to send it into a second overtime.

Graves took over in the second overtime, scoring seven points and making two steals to secure a win for the Bulldogs.

Graves, the winner of the Most Valuable Player at NIT Tip-Off, ended the game with a game-high 26 points and five assists. Twelve of those points came from free throws.

Quaintance was the Flashes’ leading scorer with 20 points. He also had six rebounds and a game-high four blocks.

The win marked revenge for the Bulldogs, who lost to the Flashes in the M.A.C. Center in overtime last season.

Contact assistant sports editor Sean Ammerman at [email protected].