Lopsided scoreboard win: But men’s basketball still ‘needs to be better’ for a good season

Jacob Shondel, Reporter

Kent State men’s basketball team led for 35:02 against Balwin Wallace, but coach Rob Senderoff still said his team needs to play better.

Baldwin Wallace, a Division III team, had 28 rebounds to KSU’s 27.

“We’ll learn from this and improve going forward,” he said. “We should not be getting out-rebounded in this type of game.”

The Flashes defeated the Yellow Jackets 76-55 in their home opener Thursday.

KSU improves to 2-0 on the season, and Baldwin Wallace is 0-2.

“It’s hard to win any game in college basketball, so we’ll take the win,” Senderoff said. “Just disappointed that a couple of things we were really focusing on didn’t really get accomplished in this game.”

In the final 4:40 of the first half, the Flashes went on a 10-3 run taking a 41-29 lead at the break.

Redshirt senior guard Sincere Carry had seven points during that time.

The Flashes lost the offensive rebound battle 8-5. They got to the line 18 times, converting on 13.

“Five offensive rebounds, that’s an issue,” Senderoff said. “Then getting to the free throw line, we got there 18 times, and they got their 10. But this should’ve been a game, around 25-30 times.”

Senderoff said his team just never “settled in.”

“The fact that we’re better than then this team is what allowed us to settle,” he said. “So eventually, our athleticism and physicality sort of got the better of the game, but we didn’t play well.”

Freshman forward Delrecco Gillespie, who was in for three minutes Monday against Northern Kentucky, finished the game with six points and five rebounds in 15 minutes.

“This was his first game at home and the first time playing in front of people,” Senderoff said. “It was the first time he got extended minutes, and I thought the first half, in particular, he did provide energy for us.”

Redshirt senior guard Sincere Carry recorded his first 30-point game of the season, finishing with 31, seven assists and six steals. He scored at least 30 points in three games last season.

Redshirt junior guard Giovanni Santiago said playing alongside Carry “makes your job easier.”

“Opposing defenses pay a lot of attention to him, and that gives you confidence because you’re able to play more open,” he said. “Have to be ready to knock down shots when he makes a pass, or if they’re denying him the ball, you have to make a play for you or somebody else.”

Carry said he wanted to take his game to the next level this past off-season.

“I got a chance to go to Houston and work out and see how professionals handle themselves,” he said. “Then, when I came back to school, I was just trying to carry all of that over and make it contagious. So other guys get in the gym with me.”

VonCameron Davis and Chris Payton replaced Malique Jacobs and Cli’Ron Hornbeak in the starting lineup due to injuries. Jacobs and Hornbeak started against Northern Kentucky Monday, where their team beat the Norse 79-57.

“Malique was hurt prior to the first game, and he was able to play Monday, but he wasn’t ready to play tonight,” Senderoff said. “Cli’Ron has a minor foot injury, and there’s nothing broken; the X-rays came back clean, but he just couldn’t play tonight. So we’ll see where he is this weekend, and hopefully, he’ll be back Monday.”

Of the 54 shots Baldwin Wallace took, 32 were 3-pointers.

“We need to be better and close out to the ball with our ball screen defense or help side,” Senderoff said. “Our help side defense was not where it needed to be in a lot of areas. They were just really comfortable.”

The Yellow Jackets shot 33.3 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from behind the arc. KSU shot 46.6 percent overall and 33.3 percent from three.

Senderoff said his team’s focus needs to be better.

“It’s early in the season, and we have guys playing at home for the first time. People are looking in the crowd instead of in the huddle,” he said. “Just things we got to improve on because we hope to be played in big games as we move forward throughout the season.”

The Flashes are home for their next game Monday at 7 p.m. against Portland (2-0). The Pilots have scored at least 89 points in each of its games so far. Last season, they went 19-15.

Junior guard Tyler Robertson led Portland with 15.3 points per game last season. Redshirt junior Moses Wood led the team with 69 3-pointers made.

The Pilots have four players returning that averaged 10 or more points per game.

“That’s going to be a game where the team we play is similar to who we played this past Monday in Northern Kentucky,” Senderoff said. “And we’re going to have to play really well to win that game.”

Jacob Shondel is a reporter. Contact him a [email protected]