Haynes, crowd lift Flashes up in victory

Kali Price

As senior guard DeAndre Haynes’ 3-pointer with seconds left in regulation hit every piece of the rim, time seemed to slow down.

Everyone’s eyes were on the ball.

It felt like years before it finally went in.

And when it did, the crowd erupted in ear-splitting cheers because at that moment, the game went into overtime.

As the game went into overtime after what is probably the biggest 3-pointer of Haynes’ career, the crowd of 5,071 at the M.A.C. Center began chanting “this is our house.”

And with Kent State’s 80-76 victory, Butler certainly knew that by the end of overtime, as did national viewers on ESPNU.

Pretty soon, the whole nation is going to know “we are Kent State.”

Selection Sunday will be here soon and the purpose of Saturday’s Bracket Buster matchup with Butler was to show which teams will probably be matched up when the brackets come out.

And in an overtime nailbiter, the Flashes (19-7, 12-2 Mid-American Conference) showed that they have what it takes to make it in the NCAA Tournament.

“These kind of games are the ones you remember,” Kent State coach Jim Christian said.

Every single person at that game, playing, coaching or just watching will remember Saturday’s game. And it wasn’t just sophomore forward Mike Scott’s double-double or Haynes’ five assists putting him at the top of school record that made the game memorable.

More than anything, it was not only Haynes’ 3-pointer but a huge catalyst toward Kent State’s win was the M.A.C. Center crowd.

“It was a great environment, they’re a great team,” Butler coach Todd Lickliter said.

The crowd helped out the Flashes at one of the most important parts of the game as well.

As the Flashes were down in the second half by as much as nine, the crowd helped rally the team to tie the game and to eventually win it.

“The one thing that I’m proud about this team is that at every time out, regardless of the score, regardless of what happened they never get down on each other, they never point fingers they just keep fighting and they’re resilient,” Christian said.

Contact sports editor Kali Price at [email protected]