KSU rebounds at home to sink Akron

Kali Price

Some teams win games with defense.

Other teams win with their shooting percentage.

Kent State won with rebounds and foul shots Saturday.

“The game was won for us on the backboard,” Kent State coach Jim Christian said.

Christian couldn’t have been more right. The Flashes totaled 40 rebounds in the game to Akron’s 23.

Those 40 rebounds ended in a 73-68 win in front of the largest crowd at the M.A.C. Center since its renovation in 1992.

If the Flashes didn’t have the advantage of so many rebounds, the game would have definitely gone in favor of Akron. The Flashes weren’t shooting well enough at all to be able to win without those rebounds. Junior forward Jay Youngblood led the way with 10 rebounds.

At the half, the Flashes only led Akron by seven. Despite the lead, the first 20 minutes of the game had more bricks than a four-bedroom house.

Both sides kept tossing up painful shots, especially the Flashes. The two teams began the game without hitting a shot for nearly two minutes, except for junior center Nate Gerwig’s free throw less than a minute into the game.

Every time the Flashes threw up a 3-pointer in the first half, it missed. Again and again and again. After the Flashes’ first five 3-point attempts, junior center Kevin Warzynski finally hit a 3-pointer. Warzynski’s 3 was the only one of the half and one of four made in the whole game.

But after sitting through one missed 3-pointer after another, the missed shots didn’t matter at the end of the first half. The second half made it seem like the first half had never happened.

Fortunately for the Flashes, they hit 45.3 percent of field goals in the whole game.

Both teams also were in foul trouble for the majority of the game.

Not only did all of the rebounds help, but the fouls helped even more.

It seemed like every other time the whistle blew, it was because of another foul being called. For some reason, what looked like a foul wasn’t and what looked like someone just playing defense was a foul.

Annoying? Yes.

Bad? No.

The more fouls Akron got; the more chances Kent State got.

The score kept going back and forth between ties and small leads, but after senior guard Jason Edwin’s big 3-pointer with 57 seconds left, the Flashes broke away with hitting four of their last six foul shots.

Edwin’s 3-pointer did pull the Flashes ahead by one point. Luckily, Akron had stopped scoring more than a minute before that anyway.

“That was probably his biggest shot he ever hit,” Christian said.

So maybe it took more than just rebounds to win. The rebounds and the fouls helped tremendously, but the excitement and enthusiasm that the crowd created did too.

“You just have to try to find every way possible to try to put yourself in position to win the game,” Christian said.

Apparently, a huge lift from the crowd is a way to be in a position to win the game too.

Contact sports reporter Kali Price at [email protected].