Men’s basketball score 55 second half points to win its fourth straight game

Giovanni+Santiago+prepares+to+make+a+shot+during+the+Kent+State+mens+basketball+teams+win+over+Eastern+Michigan+in+Kent%2C+Ohio+on+Saturday%2C+Feb.+4%2C+2022.

David Dermer

Giovanni Santiago prepares to make a shot during the Kent State men’s basketball team’s win over Eastern Michigan in Kent, Ohio on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2022.

Jacob Hansen Reporter

After struggling in the first half, the Kent State basketball team couldn’t seem to miss for the team’s fourth straight win. 

Kent State defeated Eastern Michigan University 90-71, improving to 13-9 on the season and 8-4 in the Mid-American Conference. 

KSU is in fourth place in the MAC while the Eagles (8-14, 3-8 MAC) fall to 11th. 

“Great second half, obviously,” head coach Rob Senderoff said. “Overall, it was really good for us to come out in the second half and play the way we did.”

The Flashes struggled from behind the arc in the first half shooting 35 percent (5-14). The team struggled defensively as well, allowing Eastern Michigan to shoot 46 percent (6-13) from three-point range.

“In the first half we were scoring the ball, we just didn’t guard the way we needed to,” Senderoff said. “And give those guys credit, they made shots.”

KSU fell behind 39-35 at the end of the first half. However, a much different Kent State team came out of the locker room.

Kent State took over in the second half, with a big thanks to redshirt sophomore Giovanni Santiago. Santiago has been dealing with an achilles injury, but has appeared to get his rhythm back.

“I’m just grateful and happy to be back with my guys,” Santiago said. “They keep trusting me, and I’m trusting my shot, and I just feel better each day with my legs.”

Santiago scored 21 points shooting in 15 minutes, while shooting 70 percent (7-10) and 62 percent (5-8) from behind the arc.

Santiago wasn’t the only one that couldn’t seem to miss. Kent State shot 60 percent (20-33) in the second half and 63 percent (7-11) from three-point range.

The Flashes offense allowed the team to go on a 20-4 run towards the end of the half. 

“We were just having a lot of fun,” Santiago said. “Especially when we were moving the ball and getting stops, and the bench was great, our energy in the second half was fantastic.”

Kent State took a 20 point lead at 3:07 which would put away Eastern Michigan.

Three other KSU players joined Santiago with double-digit points.

Redshirt junior guard Malique Jacobs had 13 points, four rebounds, six assists, a block and a steal. Redshirt junior guard Sincere Carry had 12 points, seven rebounds, two assists and a steal.

Graduate student guard Andrew Garcia was the final Kent State player with double figure points, adding 13 points, two steals, a rebound and an assist. 

Kent State has now won six out of their last seven, and it is on a four game-winning streak.

“Clearly we are playing better now than we were,” Senderoff said. “We were playing really good early in the year, but then we had a rough patch where we struggled.”

The Flashes will look to make it a five-game win streak when the team takes on Bowling Green on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the M.A.C. Center. 

“We have a big one at home on Tuesday,” Senderoff said. “Hopefully we can get students and people out here to see us.”

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