Three observations from a blowout win against Concord, what it means moving forward

Senior Antonio Williams looks for driving lane during first half against Concord on Nov. 21, 2019. Kent State University won 89-59 against Concord University.

Kent State is 5-0 with two wins coming by 30 or more points with both wins coming against Hiram, a Division III program and Concord who is Division II. The Flashes other three games have been decided by seven points or fewer.

Here are three observations from an 89-59 win against Concord with some context for what it could mean moving forward. 

1. Senior guard Antonio Williams avoiding foul trouble

Williams picked up only one foul in the first half. Foul trouble has been a consistent problem since he came to Kent State. In 33 games, he has finished with at least four fouls 13 times. 

If the Flashes hope to make a run at an NCAA Tournament bid, Williams will need to be on the floor.

Last year in the opening round of the Mid-American Conference tournament, Williams picked up his fourth foul with 15 minutes left in the game. That proved to play a large role in the Flashes 89-81 loss to Central Michigan. 

“It played a big role in the way that I usually play,” Williams said of his early foul trouble after the loss last March. “I just felt like I really couldn’t play how I’ve been playing all year. So, it was really different for me, but like I’ve just got to keep my composure and adjust.”

He picked up a third foul just three minutes into the second half against Purdue Fort Wayne, but did not pick up another for the remainder of the game.

He picked up one foul in 14 minutes played in the first half against Concord. He finished the game with five points, four assists and three rebounds. Through five games he’s averaged 12.4 points, 4.8 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game.

If one thing is clear after the first five games, then it is that Kent State will need Williams on the court to be successful for the remainder of the season.

2. Junior forward Danny Pippen needs to continue to play at a high level

Pippen’s stretch four role has given Kent State an entirely different element to its offense. He can shoot, handle the ball, drive, post up and pass. 

In a win against Purdue Fort Wayne he scored 12 points and shot 4-for-10 with nine attempts being threes. Two days later against Concord, he scored a game-high 17 points on 7-for-12 shooting and 3-for-5 on 3-pointers.

“They ran some plays for me to get the ball down low, and I just wanted to get down there a little bit more because I’ve been shooting a lot of threes,” Pippen said. 

Through five games, he’s averaged 14 points, seven rebounds and three blocks per game. He’s also shot 41.9 percent on 3-pointers and 44.6 percent from the field. 

3. Senior forward Philip Whittington will need to be a more consistent presence in the paint

Whittington’s season-high is 12 points on 5-for-12 shooting in 33 minutes at Towson. He made a late shot that helped propel the Flashes to an 84-80 win. 

Take away that game and he’s averaged 7.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and one block per game. In the first game he shot just 1-for-8, missed two dunks and finished with 2 points in 30 minutes. 

He finished with nine points on 4-for-5 shooting and grabbed five rebounds in the win against Concord. 

The Flashes will face its toughest test of its early season Monday night when they play No. 10 Ohio State. 

“I’m trying to beat them,” Pippen said. “They’re not that good to me. I look at them just like how I look at a regular team just because Ohio State is a big team that doesn’t mean anything to me. I go into the game with the same game plan I have against Concord.”

Contact Ian Kreider at [email protected]