Recap: Men’s basketball enters the new year on a roll

Jacob Shondel, Reporter

Kent State’s men’s basketball team received eight votes in the latest AP rankings after winning eight-straight games — including a Sun Bowl title.

This is the first time Kent State has captured the title since 1999, when the team defeated New Mexico State (73-63) and the University of Texas at El Paso (47-46). 

Redshirt senior guard Sincere Carry was named the tournament MVP, averaging 15 points with 4.5 steals and three assists over the two games. 

Carry converted on two free throws with 18 seconds remaining in the game to give KSU the lead against El Paso. 

Kent State finished its non-conference schedule 10-3, with losses to No. 2 Houston, No. 18 Gonzaga and Charleston, the No. 18 ranked team in the country 

The Flashes are 14-3 overall and are first in the Mid-American Conference at 4-0.

Back in the MAC

The Flashes started their conference schedule Jan. 3, defeating  Western Michigan, 80-72. 

Sophomore guard Jalen Sullinger led the time with 18 points and converted on 3-of-4 shots behind the arc. 

Redshirt sophomore VonCameron Davis got his second start of the season and added 16 points and team-high eight rebounds. 

After seeing two of his starters foul out of the gamecoach Rob Senderoff’s  bench finished with 30 points. 

Kent State traveled to Oxford Jan. 7, defeating Miami 69-66. Carry recorded his second 30-point game of the season with a team-high 31 points in the game.

The Flashes returned to the M.A.C. Center Jan. 10, looking to start 8-0 at home for the first time since the 2010-11 season. 

Redshirt senior guard Malique Jacobs and forward Miyrne Thomas recorded double-doubles and defeated Toledo 75-63 – a season-low score for the Rockets. 

Jacobs totaled 16 points, 13 rebounds and three steals. Thomas finished with a game-high 22 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. Carry added 21 points and five assists – his fifth 20-point game. 

Jan. 13’s game was a rematch of last year’s semi-final matchup in the MAC tournament. 

The Flashes defeated Ohio University 70-65. Their 4-0 conference start is the team’s best since the 2004-05 season. 

KSU had four players finish with 10 or more points. Thomas (17), Jacobs (16), Carry (11) and redshirt junior guard Giovanni Santiago (11).

After scoring 21 points in the first half, the Kent State defense held the Bobcats’ forward Dwight Wilson to only six points in the second half. Wilson had scored 17 or more points in his previous three games. 

Kent State men’s basketball ranks first in the Mid-American Conference in points allowed per game (62.2) and point margin (12.3). 

Next up

Kent State plays at Eastern Michigan at 7 p.m. Tuesday. EMU is 4-13 overall and last place in the MAC at 1-3. KSU is the only unbeaten team in the conference. 

The Eagles allow the most points per game in the conference (81.5); the Flashes are ranked seventh in the MAC in scoring at 74.5. 

Both teams have three players averaging 10 or more points per game. 

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