Time runs out on Kent State’s home win streak

Matt Goul

Bowling Green busts Kent State’s bubble

Senior Jason Edwin attempts a shot against Bowling Green at Saturday’s basketball game in the M.A.C. Center. Kent State lost 77-73.

Credit: Matt Goul

Kevin Warzynski was bound to miss a shot sooner or later.

He connected on his first five attempts of the second half. His first and only miss was soon followed by fouling out in the final minute of Bowling Green’s 77-73 win Saturday at the M.A.C. Center.

“It seemed like every time we turned around, he was hitting a 3 or getting fouled in the post,” Bowling Green’s Josh Almanson said.

Warzynski’s last field goal, a 3-pointer, answered Almanson’s 3 to pull the Flashes (16-8, 8-5 Mid-American Conference) within 70-69 of Bowling Green’s lead with 2:43 left. Almanson’s high-arcing jump shot from the left corner beat the shot clock buzzer when it seemed such a shot was in panic for a 6-foot-8 post player to take.

It was not.

“That didn’t hurt,” said Bowling Green coach Dan Dakich, whose team improved to 14-7, 8-5 MAC. “Somebody’s going to make a play to take out a lead. Fortunately for us, Josh hit it. It looked good the whole way, and that usually doesn’t happen with a second left on the clock.”

Almanson scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds while reaching the career milestone of 1,000 points.

Warzynski matched him — with 23 points and answering the 3.

It was as close as Kent State could get. Warzynski picked up his fourth foul with more than two minutes to go. His only miss came near the free-throw line with 45 seconds left and down by two. Perrick Robinson pulled down the rebound for Bowling Green, and DeAndre Haynes fouled, picking up his fifth.

“I was going good in the second half, so we wanted to get plays for me and get me open,” said Warzynski, who was scoreless in the first half. “It just came down to getting defensive stops in the end, which we couldn’t do.”

Bowling Green, in the double bonus, only needed to draw fouls and hit free throws to preserve its lead.

Kent State coach Jim Christian told junior guard Jay Youngblood they needed “one stop” as Youngblood stood in front of the scorer’s table before re-entering the game.

“The game was lost on the defensive end,” Christian said. “We fought hard to get back in the game, and we couldn’t get a stop. I don’t think we got a stop in the last four minutes. No discipline on defense, and that’s why you lose.”

The Flashes fell behind by 13 in the first half before a Marcus Crenshaw 3 pulled them within eight at halftime.

The slow start was spurred by a 3-of-18 shooting effort to start the game. When the Falcons’ lead was cut to 25-20, turnovers allowed them to push it back up.

“It takes a lot out of you,” Christian said. “It’s a tough team to play comeback with because they’re very patient and they screen very well. They got a lot of shooters and offensive players on the floor. You got to get off to a good start against Bowling Green.”

The Falcons expanded their advantage to 13 again in the second half before playing from behind worked for the Flashes.

Warzynski got to the free-throw line by taking shots inside. When he couldn’t, shooting over defenders became a viable option. He started a 15-1 run, which the Flashes took the lead on a 3 by Crenshaw with 13:04 left. Crenshaw then came up with a steal, finding Scott Cutley who was fouled driving to the basket. Cutley’s free throws gave Kent State a 47-44 lead, its largest of the game.

Since Haynes’ 3 gave Kent State a 5-2 lead, it did not lead until Crenshaw’s plays. There was only one more lead to come, a Warzynski 3 with more than seven minutes to play.

Although the shooting improved, the shot selection, at times, did not.

“On the offensive end, we came down and had no patience,” Christian said. “We just kept firing shot after shot. We took 26 3s, which was way too many. They weren’t good ones. I don’t mind shooting 3s, but they got to be good 3s.”

Bowling Green took only six.

Contact men’s basketball reporter Matt Goul at [email protected].