Improving their looks

Matt Goul

Kent State takes better shots, rebounds from ugly losses

Winning pretty or winning ugly did not matter. Kent State just needed a win.

With a second half smoother than the first, the men’s basketball team got an 81-72 non-conference win over Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne last night at the M.A.C. Center. IPFW kept the Flashes from building much momentum until early in the second half, but Kent State has seen uglier. Toothless with warts uglier.

The Flashes (11-6, 3-3 Mid-American Conference) came into last night’s game following an 80-54 loss at Ohio on Saturday. They lost 76-60 at Western Michigan on Wednesday. The 26-point loss at Ohio was Kent State’s worst since an 88-58 defeat at Western Michigan Jan. 31, 1998.

“We needed a win,” said sophomore forward Scott Cutley, who scored a career-high 22 points. “We could have executed better at the end, but we needed this win just to get our confidence back and feel better about ourselves.”

Cutley credited his guards’ penetration to the basket to open him for shots under the basket in the post. Point guard DeAndre Haynes and guard Jason Edwin had five assists each. They helped the team get 17 assists on its 23 baskets made — a production Kent State coach Jim Christian said was lacking in the last two games.

Last night the ball movement peaked as Kent State clinged to a 46-44 second-half lead, and the lead started to as well.

Haynes scored the first six points of an eight-point run, twice off steals. The lead expanded to 59-46 with about 13 minutes left after Haynes scored on a three-point play, in which he took a pass from freshman point guard Marcus Crenshaw after Crenshaw poked a steal from IPFW point guard Byron Malone.

Haynes, who came off the bench, scored 16 points. The move was to give Haynes a chance to step back and watch the game develop, Christian said.

“The last couple of games I hadn’t been playing well,” Haynes said. “If I see what’s going on at the beginning of the game, I settle down a little bit and come out with a lot of emotion off the bench. I feel like I have the same role to come out and help our team.”

As a result, Kent State had four players score in double figures. Sophomore guard Armon Gates, who also came off the bench, scored 13. Edwin added 13 as well.

The Flashes completed the 20-2 run with 12 straight points and a jumper from Crenshaw. Crenshaw’s only basket with about 10 minutes left extended Kent State’s lead to 66-46, its largest of the game.

The Flashes did not get another field goal until Edwin hit a 3 with 2:16 left.

“I don’t think we took bad shots tonight,” Christian said. “We executed well, we just have to finish the games off. That’s something we haven’t grown into yet, but we’ll get better at it. We work on those situations all the time.”

In the eight minutes between field goals, IPFW (4-14) cut the lead to 12 and started to find their success from 3-point range again. The Mastodons hit five 3s in the final 3:35, including four from forward Peter Campbell. The freshman hit seven 3s and scored a game-high 28 points.

IPFW coach Joe Pechota said he recruited Campbell after a referral from Ball State.

“The one thing he can do is stroke it,” Pechota said. “He’s your typical Indiana kid. He can hit it from the parking lot.”

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