Men’s basketball wins 12th straight to end regular season

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Courtesy of Kent State Athletics

The Kent State men’s basketball team reacts to Carry’s record breaking performance in its win over Central Michigan in Kent, Ohio on Tuesday, Feb. 22.

Jacob Hansen , Reporter

Kent State’s men’s basketball team ended the regular season in style with a 12 game win streak in front of the electric M.A.C. Center crowd.

“Great night tonight, to be able to go out on a win against an excellent team on senior night which is a special night,” head coach Rob Senderoff said. “Each of these guys has given a lot to Kent State and to our basketball program and to me personally, and to be able to send them off tonight with a win is very special.”

Kent State finishes with a 21-9 record and a 16-4 record in the Mid-American Conference. Toledo (17-3 MAC, 25-6 overall) beat Bowling Green 96-56 to hold onto sole possession of the MAC regular season title. KSU finishes second in the conference.

“We didn’t focus on getting those twelve wins, we just played the hardest we could every single game,” graduate student guard Andrew Garcia said. “We never took no one lightly, we knew we had to be that dog every single game, no matter who it was.”

Kent State played great defense in the first half, leading 34-26.

The Flashes forced 13 turnovers on seven steals and five blocks. Buffalo struggled from three after making its first three attempts shooting 33 percent (4-12) in the first half.

Redshirt sophomore guard Giovanni Santiago was on fire from behind the arc making his first four attempts, scoring 12 points in the first half.

Redshirt junior guard Malique Jacobs was all over the place defensively with five steals and two blocks in the first half.

Buffalo didn’t make it easy for the Flashes in the second half.

Kent State struggled in the second half shooting 36 percent (14-38) and 30 percent (4-13) from behind the arc in the second half.

The difference maker was the ball handling. KSU only had eight turnovers compared to Buffalo’s 17 turnovers. Which is what Senderoff said was the difference.

“Us taking care of the basketball, the difference in turnovers,” Senderoff said. “Because they shot the ball a little better, and we weren’t great from the free throw line, but we took care of the basketball, and we did a great job on the offensive glass.”

Kent State was also able to get 17 offensive rebounds in the game, leading to 25 second chance points.

“Prior to the game coach told us that they led the league in offensive rebounding percentage and we led the league in defensive rebounding percentage,” Garcia said. “It was going to be a dog and whoever is going to be the chippiest and get to the glass is going to win the game and I feel like we maximized that.”

Redshirt junior guard Sincere Carry led the Flashes with 20 points, nine assists, three rebounds and a steal. Jacobs added 16 points with nine rebounds, five steals, two blocks and an assist.

Kent State will play Miami University on Thursday in the first round of the MAC tournament after earning the two seed.

“You know what, there are seven other teams going to Cleveland that feel like they can win that tournament,” Senderoff said. “We can just focus on the things we need to focus on, playing hard for each other, competing, making simple plays.”

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