Flashes are able to play through their mistakes

Matt Goul's view

Years with veteran basketball teams can make coaches, fans and anyone associated with a team take certain aspects of the game for granted.

One could be free-throw shooting.

With Kent State’s performance late in its last two games from the line — missing 10 of its last 20 against Buffalo and five of its last nine against Marshall — free throws could be all the men’s basketball team practices this week before its game Saturday at Toledo. Then again, the misses showed this team can play through mistakes, which was not the case until lately.

Hard-luck losses became tests for a core of players getting used to each other. Five players getting significant playing time, including center Nate Gerwig, did not play on last year’s team. Marcus Crenshaw and Michael Scott are freshmen, Jay Youngblood arrived straight from a junior college and Kevin Warzynski sat out after transferring in last season.

Losses to Marquette, Old Dominion and Boston College were by five points or less. Add a win at Creighton, and Kent State had four games against possible NCAA Tournament teams before the new year.

The lumps of blowout losses came along with the heartbreaks of close ones. Both are starting to show as a part of growth now.

Crenshaw and Youngblood are developing a knack for being in the middle of critical stages in games. Crenshaw has done it with a swipe for a steal or a trend-setting 3. Youngblood has brought showtime to the M.A.C. Center, gliding toward the basket with either a dunk or mid-air pump fake to draw the foul.

The trick is continuing it on the road.

The Flashes are 5-6 on the road. In the MAC, they have yet to pick up a road win.

A lot of fuss

The Buffalo News reported last week that MAC Commissioner Rick Chryst told Buffalo Interim Athletics Director Bill Maher to submit video of questionable calls from Kent State’s 85-80 win over the Bulls a week ago.

Two former Kent State players, Mike Foote and Mike Roberts, officiated the game after weather affected travel plans for some MAC officials.

Twenty-nine fouls were called against Buffalo, as opposed to 15 against Kent State in the game — which the article mentions. It does not mention Buffalo’s intentional fouls while playing from behind to keep its chances of winning alive.

The Bulls fouled three times in the last 1:43 of the second half before tying the score. They fouled six times in overtime while playing from behind.

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