Team sets record to 0-0

Sean Joseph

Flashes adopt one game-at-a-time mentality

Junior guard Armon Gates hugs sophomore guard Trent Morgan outside of the M.A.C. Center yesterday as they load the bus to leave for Detroit. The Flashes face Pittsburgh, the No. 5 seed and Big East Tournament runner-up, in a first-round game at the Palace

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

As the Kent State men’s basketball team loaded the bus for Auburn Hills yesterday evening, it looked like the team packed its bags for more than a one-and-done road trip.

The Flashes have been celebrating since fans stormed the court Saturday night after their victory against Toledo secured them a bid in the Division I Men’s NCAA Tournament.

They will not let their No. 12 seed or the fact that ESPN has ignored them affect their winning attitude, senior guard Jay Youngblood said. He said he has stopped paying attention to the media after Selection Sunday because nobody even talks about Kent State and automatically places No. 5-seed Pittsburgh in the second round.

The team has gone through their same routine of classes and practice this week, senior guard DeAndre Haynes said.

“We celebrated a little bit in the locker room Saturday night but came and got some rest because we didn’t sleep much in Cleveland,” Haynes said.

Freshman forward Jullian Sullinger even had a test on Monday. He said he studied at the hotel during the Mid-American Conference Tournament and has continued to do so among all the excitement this week.

Sophomore forward Mike Scott said the team bus left a couple hours after the game. That night, he went to Steak n’ Shake in Streetsboro with a friend and didn’t get to sleep until 5 a.m. because he was so excited.

“Everything hit me Saturday night when the fans rushed the floor,” Scott said. “But on Sunday I had time to think about it and enjoy it and really understand what happened.”

Practices have been different in preparing for Pitt this week because Kent State coach Jim Christian is focusing more on mentality. Scott said the team understands what they have to do to win, and the team that is more mentally prepared will win.

Contact men’s basketball reporter Sean Joseph at [email protected]