Flashes recover from Toledo

Kali Price

Haynes dominates for the victory

DeAndre Haynes added another notch to his belt of Kent State records yesterday.

Kent State men’s basketball senior guard added his name to the school record books by hitting 7-of-8 3-pointers in yesterday’s 67-55 win over Northern Illinois (13-9, 8-6 Mid-American Conference).

“I just kept shooting,” Haynes said. “If I was open, I just kept shooting every time I had an opportunity to shoot. Youngblood wasn’t doing well and I had to step up and be a leader and just help us out with the victory.”

The win improved the Flashes’ record to 17-7 overall and 11-2 in the MAC.

Haynes is now tied for the No. 2 spot for the number of made 3-pointers in a single game with seven.

“(Haynes) stepped up today and buried a number of big shots,” Kent State coach Jim Christian said. “He did what we want our seniors to do. I think he’s getting to the point where he sees what’s in front of him. He made great shots. He played with unbelievable confidence.”

The last time Haynes led the team in scoring this season was Dec. 21, 2005, in Moraga, Calif. against Concordia. He scored 31 points in the Flashes’ 88-76 win that night.

Yesterday, Haynes nailed 24 points. The rest of his points came from the free-throw line, where he hit 3-of-4.

“We had the ball in his hands a lot and he had to make good decisions, and he did, and he was feeling it,” Christian said.

But the game didn’t focus on Haynes until six minutes in.

Junior guard Armon Gates started off the Flashes’ scoring run with a 3-pointer in the first 30 seconds and hit two more jumpers before the Huskies finally scored with 14:21 left in the half.

“What we got out of Armon today was probably a great energy to start the game defensively,” Christian said. “He got deflections, he got a couple loose balls, he got a couple rebounds, and that’s what we need from Armon. The shots he’s going to hit. He’s a very vocal guy; he plays hard. I thought he gave our team a great lift today.”

After the Huskies finally scored their first points of the game with a 3-pointer from senior guard Anthony Maestranzi, Haynes answered with his first trey of the afternoon.

“We had some looks that didn’t go down to start the game,” Northern Illinois coach Rob Judson said.

The Huskies came within two with 6:01 left in the first half, but were unable to tie or take the lead for the whole game.

“I thought we got off to a better start defensively here than we did there,” Christian said, referring to the Flashes’ last game at Northern Illinois. “I thought for both games, we guarded them well, and they’re not an easy team to guard.”

At the half, the Flashes led 34-24. Haynes made all three of first 3-point attempts in the first as well.

“I thought (Haynes) made some very tough shots,” Judson said. “He put his team on his back and carried them.”

Haynes hit his final trey with 2:25 left, but his scoring didn’t end until a minute later when he sunk a pair of free throws.

Also contributing to the win was sophomore forward Mike Scott. Scott put up 13 points and nabbed six rebounds, four of which were on defense.

“I thought Mike Scott played a great game tonight,” Christian said. “He’s a very important part of what we do, especially defensively. It’s hard to get him out of the game when teams like Northern go with four guards. A lot of things we do defensively kind of revolve around what his strengths are. This is one of his better games he’s ever played here.”

In Scott’s 34 minutes, he also had one assist and went to the line 10 times, hitting seven of those free throws.

“Mike started out, he stepped up and he hit some big ones for us in the beginning,” Haynes said. “He’s getting rebounded and fouled, and we got in bonus early. Everyone that went to the line either made 1-of-2 or made them both. We just need to keep making them.”

Scott was fouled three times while making a defensive rebound and was sent to the line because the Flashes were in bonus.

“Every time I got a rebound, they seemed to foul,” Scott said. “I guess most of it was just me and the other players being aggressive.”

Along with Haynes and Scott, Gates posted double figures in scoring as well. He finished up with 11 points, three assists and five rebounds, all of which were defensive.

“I think defensively, he’s (Gates) played very well the past three games, and that’s why we put him back in the lineup,” Christian said. “And I think Omni (Smith) played better when he was coming off the bench, and today he showed that he was starting to play better.”

Also leading the Flashes in rebounds were seniors Kevin Warzynski and Nate Gerwig. Warzynski posted a team-high seven rebounds, while Gerwig totaled five.

But the squad was missing leadership from leading scorer senior guard Jay Youngblood.

“(Youngblood is) a great offensive player and he wants to do well,” Christian said. “Sometimes he presses it because he’s just trying to do so much, and other guys are making plays and he wants to do well. That is what impressed me about our team today: When your leading offensive scorer and best offensive guy has a bad day, other guys stepped up, like DeAndre, Mike (Scott) and Jordan Mincy. I think that’s what guys have to do, especially this time of year.”

Youngblood only scored five points for the night, but he averages 14 points per game.

Haynes said it’s important for the team to move on and focus on the next game, especially coming off of a 60-44 loss at Toledo Tuesday.

“You forget about it (losing),” Haynes said. “We’ve got five more games. You’ve got to put that game in the past and think about the future now. Any team in the MAC you can play and lose. Every team’s going to be coming at us and we’re going to be coming at them.”

After Akron’s 77-72 win at Eastern Michigan on Saturday night, the Flashes and the Zips are again tied for the No. 1 spot in the MAC.

Haynes added that the team is now focusing on winning and is luckily not ending the season with the usual losing-streak as in past years.

“I guess we got opportunities to be the second team in Kent State history to win the MAC, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Haynes said. “At the end of every season, we start losing, and now we’re just concentrating on winning. We’re just taking one game at a time, and we’re playing to win.”

Contact sports editor Kali Price at [email protected]