No three-ball, no problem

Joey Simon

Flashes struggle from outside, yet Youngblood, inside game scorch Broncos

Omni Smith (5) drives the ball against a Muskingum player during a home game in the M.A.C. Center. The Flashes won 82-70 over Texas-Pan American in the South Padre Invitational in South Padre Island, Texas, Saturday. Kent State plays at 7:35 p.m. on Wedne

Credit: Jason Hall

Senior Jay Youngblood led a second-half charge that saw the Kent State basketball team turn a two-point halftime deficit into a 82-70 win over Texas-Pan American Saturday in the final game of the South Padre Invitational.

Youngblood scored a season-high 26 points, including 17 in the second half, as the Flashes improved to 2-2 on the season. Sophomore Mike Scott added 15 points off the bench to spark Kent State, which was coming off of a three-point loss to Rutgers on Friday.

Leading 53-51 with just over 11 minutes to play, the Flashes went on a 20-9 run in the next 7:21. Youngblood scored 11 during the stretch. Aside from his 26 points, three off his career high, the senior guard was tied for the team lead in rebounds with seven, shot 11-of-18 from the field and also had a team-best four assists.

Kent State showed it could win when the team is struggling with its outside shooting. While the Flashes were only four for 17 from beyond the 3-point arc, they out-scored the Broncos 34 to 12 in the paint and 12 to zero in fast-break points.

The Kent State defense held the Broncos (2-3) to just two of nine from 3-point range and converted 31 points off of 22 UTPA turnovers in the game.

Scott’s 15 points was a career high. He was a perfect three of three from long distance.

The Flashes’ defense was stifling in the second half. After allowing the Broncos to shoot 50 percent from the field in the first half, they held UTPA to 31.8 percent after intermission. On the other hand, Kent State shot over 56 percent in the second half, following 33.3 percent shooting in the first.

With a number of starters in foul trouble in the second half, the Flashes’ bench played a big role in the victory. Besides Scott, freshmen Jordan Mincy and Isaac Knight each had key contributions. Mincy scored five points, had four steals and three assists, while Knight had eight points and six rebounds. Overall, the Flashes’ bench scored 30 points in the game.

Senior Kevin Warzynski had 11 points and seven rebounds and was the only other starter in double figures for the Flashes.

Trailing 35-33 at the half, Kent State out-scored the Broncos 49 to 35 in the second half.

The Flashes play next at 7:35 p.m. on Wednesday at Youngstown State.

Contact sports editor Joe Simon at [email protected].