Men’s basketball wins ninth-straight against Eastern Michigan

Jacob Shondel, Reporter

Kent State men’s basketball team opponents have scored 65 or fewer points 10 times this season.

Tuesday, in Michigan, was no different when KSU defeated Eastern Michigan 77-63 for its ninth consecutive win.

Kent State improved to 15-3 overall and remained at first place in the Mid-American Conference with a 5-0 record.

The Eagles fell to 4-14 on the season and are now tied for last in the conference at 1-4.

The last time the Flashes started with five wins in the conference was 2005-06.

“It was a hard-fought game; playing on the road to a team with its back against the wall and coming away with a 14-point win is certainly good for us,” coach Rob Senderoff said. “I’ve been in the league long enough to know it’s not easy to get them. They’re a talented team, and happy that we’re able to get the win tonight.”

The 14-point victory was Kent State’s 10th double-digit victory.

KSU and EMU traded baskets throughout the first half, leading to a Kent State 38-33 halftime lead.

Eastern Michigan came into the game averaging a MAC-worst 9.5 assists per game. In the first half, the Eagles recorded six assists.

“They did a good job moving the ball in the first half,” Senderoff said. “We had to make an adjustment on how we were reading their ball screens.”

Kent State’s 10 steals per game is first in the conference; the team totaled five at the break.

Redshirt senior forward Miryne Thomas led the team with nine points at the half. Redshirt senior guard Sincere Carry added eight points and four assists.

The Flashes opened the half on a 9-5 run, giving them a 47-38 lead.

“In the opening minute of the second half, Cli’Ron got a couple of steals and baskets for us, and that helped us get in the flow,” Senderoff said.

With over 12 minutes remaining in the game, sophomore guard Jalen Sullinger converted on a 3-pointer giving the Flashes their biggest lead of the game, 53-40.

Both teams traded baskets over the next 3:45, making the score 61-46.

EMU cut the Kent State lead to 62-54 with 5:25 left in the game after going on an 8-1 run.

In the final five minutes of the game, the Flashes outscored the Eagles 15-9.

Five KSU players finished  with 10 or more points. Redshirt senior guard Malique Jacobs, Carry and Sullinger all scored 14 points.

Redshirt junior guard Giovanni Santiago totaled 11, and Thomas added 10 points.

Santiago finished the game 3-of-4 from behind the arc.

“We were struggling against zone, and he hit some big threes for us,” Senderoff said. “You’re going to have a lot of guys step up and make big plays on the road. It was great to see, and Gio is somebody we certainly have tremendous faith in to make plays for us.”

Eagles forward Emoni Bates, the first five-star recruit to play in the MAC, scored a game-high 24 points.

Bates is the current conference leader averaging 20 points per game.

Home Sweet Home

Kent State plays Ball State at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the M.A.C.C.

Ball State (13-5, 4-1) sits at second-place in the MAC. The Flashes have won 15 consecutive games at home.

Last season, Kent State swept the season series. KSU has won seven of the last 10 matchups.

The Cardinals have four players scoring 10 or more points per game. KSU has three.

BSU averages the fifth most points in the conference at 76.2, while Kent State is sixth at 74.6.

Senderoff looks forward to seeing the crowd fill the seats.

“Our students are back in town from that point moving forward, and I’d love to see everyone get behind this team. They certainly deserve it the way they played all year,” he said. “We’re undefeated at home, and the games just keep getting bigger and tougher. I know our next home game is a nationally televised game against a really good Ball State team, so having that crowd energy is going to be important.”

“So for those that live in Kent and the surrounding area, it would be awesome to have the stands packed.”

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