Kent State beats Temple in second half comeback

Sean Ammerman

The Kent State men’s basketball team came back from a 10-point halftime deficit to beat Temple 63-54 Tuesday night in the M.A.C. Center.

After shooting an abysmal 29 percent in field goals the first 20 minutes of play, the Flashes regrouped for a second half turnaround bolstered by strong rebounding and tough defense.

“In the first half, without question we were (guarding) way too much one-on-one.” Kent State coach Jim Christian said. “We didn’t move the basketball the way we have been playing and the way we have been practicing. But in the second half we finally went back the things that we were good at.”

The win was the Flashes’ seventh straight at home, and pushes them to a 4-1 record on the year.

The game puts Temple at 0-1 and marked the first time in 17 years that the team has played with out Hall of Fame coach John Chaney, who retired last season.

New Temple coach Fran Dunphy brought a team with only one returning starter from the Chaney days to its first ever meeting in Kent.

“I thought we shot it well in stretches, I thought we played good defense in stretches,” Dunphy said, “but for our first game, it looked like it.”

Kent State took an early lead, scoring the first four points and keeping Temple scoreless for five minutes of play.

But three straight scores from Owl’s guard Justin Salisbery midway through the half helped change the momentum. Temple led the Flashes 29-19 at the end of the half.

Salisbery led all scorers with a career-high 23 points, which included four 3-pointers.

While Kent State couldn’t buy a shot in the first half, the second half was a different story as they outscored Temple 44-25.

The Flashes came out revitalized with help from junior forward Mike Scott, who said he told the team to have short-term memory during the halftime break.

“It was kind of embarrassing in the first half,” Scott said. “We couldn’t leave here tonight with that. I could have pictured myself crying after this game if we would have lost.”

Scott, who was suspended by Christian for unidentified reasons in the team’s previous game, returned to score a career-high 19 points against Temple.

The Flashes also saw leadership from junior forward Haminn Quaintance, who earned a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

As a team, Kent State out rebounded Temple 42-20, which led to several second-chance scoring opportunities in the second half.

Kent State will go for its third straight win against Butler on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Indianapolis.

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