Ohio down, it’s time for Akron

Flashes remain tied for first in MAC with strong win at Ohio

Sophomore forward Mike Scott goes up for a shot against Ohio’s defense last night at Ohio. The Flashes beat the Bobcats for the first time in four years while playing at Ohio. Securing a win against the Bobcats 73-60 brought the Flashes’ record up to15-6

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

The bus ride home didn’t seem too long last night after the Kent State men’s basketball team picked up its first win in four years in Athens against Ohio (12-6, 6-4 Mid-American Conference).

The win sets up the game of the year against Akron Saturday. The Flashes (15-6, 9-1 MAC) and Zips are tied for first place in the MAC.

• Make sure to pick up your tickets now for when Kent State hosts Akron at 2 p.m. Saturday at the M.A.C. Center.

The Ohio student section waved “Gerwig Sucks” signs that jeered senior center Nate Gerwig on to score all of his 15 points in the last 15 minutes of play.

Senior guard DeAndre Haynes led all scorers with 16 points, and for the first time in his career didn’t have to ride the long bus trip home from Athens after a loss. Senior forward Jay Youngblood also helped out with 12 points.

“There was a lot of leadership from our seniors tonight,” Kent State assistant coach Rob Senderoff said in a radio interview after the game. “We slept walk through the first half and were lucky to have the lead, but the guys responded when coach got on them at halftime.”

The Flashes got off to a slow start. Ohio freshman forward Jerome Tillman scored eight points to Kent State’s five in the first four minutes and 12 seconds. The Flashes also had five turnovers and five fouls in the first six minutes of play.

Sophomore forward Mike Scott led the team in a 10-0 run by scoring five out of his nine points and giving the Flashes a seven-point lead early in the second half. Kent State took the lead from Ohio for good during that run with 16 minutes left in the half. The Flashes went into the second half with a four-point lead.

“The first half was atrocious. We were letting their guys drive on us like it was going out of style,” Senderoff said. “During the second half we had a whole new mentality.”

Junior guard Omni Smith scored all of his 10 points in the second half and sunk the dagger in Ohio by hitting a deuce to put Kent State up by 11 with 1:09 to play.

The Bobcats shot 32 percent in the second half, compared to the Flashes’ 63 percent. Both teams finished with 25 rebounds.

Ohio was led by junior forward Sonny Troutman and junior guard Whitney Davis who each scored 12. Tillman finished with 10 points and sophomore forward Leon Williams had 11.

Kent State finished 8-of-10 from the free-throw line, and despite having three guys with four fouls in the last two minutes, didn’t have anyone foul out.

Ohio was coming off a 73-59 loss to Miami and had not lost two straight games at home since January 2003. This is only their third loss in the Convocation Center in two years. The defending MAC Champions remain in fourth place in the MAC East Division.

The Flashes have won nine of the past 10 games and square off against Akron at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Senderoff said the next game is always the most important.

Now, it’s time for Akron.

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