Unfamiliar performance against Bowling Green, unfamiliar loss at home

Matt Goul

DeAndre Haynes prevents Steven Wright from snatching the ball at Saturday afternoon’s basketball game in the M.A.C. Center.

Credit: Matt Goul

Two minutes into Kent State’s 77-73 loss to Bowling Green, and another DeAndre Haynes domination of the Falcons was on.

Haynes scored the Flashes’ first five points, knocking down a jump shot and 3-pointer in taking the lead. The lead did not last and neither did a Haynes-led charge on Bowling Green. He scored two points the rest of the way as the Falcons asserted a double-digit lead and forced Kent State to play catch-up from then on.

“The key was getting a handle on Haynes,” Bowling Green coach Dan Dakich said. “Haynes and his family probably sent a limo to make sure that we get to the game on time because of how much success he’s had against us.”

Haynes scored a career-high 26 points in a Mid-American Conference tournament win over Bowling Green last year. Saturday was his quietest performance against the Falcons since his freshman season.

Call it an unusual lack of success.

Losing at home was a first this season.

The Flashes were 9-0 at the M.A.C. Center before Bowling Green outmuscled them. The Falcons’ largest lead was by 13, twice. Kent State managed to comeback on a 15-1 run and lead by three again. The Flashes came back from 10 down to defeat Buffalo at home earlier this season, but Bowling Green did not make it as easy. The Falcons limited their mistakes after the run, which gave the Flashes a 47-44 lead. Of the Falcons’ 13 turnovers, only two came in the final 12 minutes. They took advantage of Kent State’s turnovers in establishing the lead before the run.

That did not worry Kent State coach Jim Christian.

“I knew we would fight and come back,” he said. “On the defensive end, we made some steals and things by trapping.”

It was the offensive mistakes that bothered him.

Christian said his team showed little patience on the offensive end. Four straight shots were missed in the final 1:40 before Jason Edwin hit a 3 to cut Bowling Green’s lead to two with six seconds left.

The threat was taken away when Bowling Green’s Steven Wright, avoiding a foul, found John Reimold for one last basket to clinch the win.

“Having to come right back and play at the hardest place to play in the MAC says a lot about our team and how we keep fighting,” said Bowling Green’s Josh Almanson, who scored 23 points and reached 1,000 career points.

The Falcons had lost by eight points at Toledo Wednesday.

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