Kent State’s offensive struggles end two-game winning streak

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KSU Athletics

Redshirt junior guard Sincere Carry makes a move to the basket during the Kent State men’s basketball team’s loss to Buffalo in Buffalo, New York on Friday, Jan. 21.

Jacob Hansen, Reporter

The short-handed Kent State men’s basketball team was shut down by Buffalo in a 64-51 loss.

Redshirt sophomore guard Giovanni Santiago and graduate student guard Andrew Garcia both did not play in this game due to injuries, leaving the Flashes short handed.

Kent State’s two-game win streak comes to an end, and they fall to 9-9 on the year and 4-4 in the Mid-American Conference.

The Flashes are tied for fifth place in the MAC with Northern Illinois. The Bulls (4-2 MAC, 10-6 overall) are tied for third with Akron.

“Defensively we were really good,” coach Rob Senderoff said. “The last bit of the game was obviously disappointing and upsetting.”

KSU struggled early on in the first half shooting 27 percent (8-29) and 21 percent (3-14) from behind the arc.

The Flashes finished the half down 10 in a 34-24 game. Buffalo’s defense continued the pressure in the second half.

Kent State finished shooting 33 percent (19-57) and 19 percent (4-21) from the three point line. KSU has had issues in the past few games from behind the arc, something Senderoff is taking notice of.

“We’ve struggled for a number of games now,” Senderoff said. “It was a little bit of them and a little bit of us.”

Buffalo’s defense had a solid game plan for redshirt junior guard Sincere Carry as he was held to nine points.

Carry leads the team in points with 311, recording over 100 more points than KSU’s second best scorer (Redshirt junior Malique Jacobs with 204).

Carry shot 26 percent (4-15) and went 0-4 from behind the arc. Jacobs was also shut down, scoring eight points and only shooting 33 percent (3-9).

“[Carry] had an off night for sure,” Sendroff said. “Some of it had to do with [Buffalo’s] length and physicality, but every once in a while you have an off night.”

However, missing two players allowed freshman guard Jalen Sullinger to show off his skills.

“I thought Jalen didn’t look scared,” Senderoff said. “I give him credit for that, he has a lot of stuff he has to get better at, but he was not scared tonight.”

Sullinger finished with 10 points, two rebounds, an assist, and three steals. Along with Sullinger, Redshirt senior forward Justyn Hamilton stepped up in the paint scoring six points and grabbing nine rebounds.

“[Hamilton] needs to do that for 40 minutes,” Senderoff said. “But he had a good second half for sure, but he needs to do that night in and night out for 40 minutes.”

Kent State will look to rebound next week when the team returns to the M.A.C. Center to take on Western Michigan (0-6, 4-13), which is in last place in the MAC, Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Jacob Hansen is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]