Strong first half pushes men’s basketball past Western Michigan

Jacob Shondel, Reporter

Kent State men’s basketball team is ranked first in points allowed (63.9) in the Mid-American Conference.

Tuesday, when the Flashes traveled to Michigan, allowed a season-low 58 points against conference opponents when they defeated Western Michigan 82-58.

“We swarmed the ball effectively all night,” coach Rob Senderoff said. “It set the tone for the game and allowed us to build an early lead.”

KSU improved to 21-5 on the season and remained tied for first in the MAC with Toledo at 11-2.

The Broncos fell to 6-20 overall and remained tied for last place with Miami in the conference at 2-11.

With the win, KSU clinched a spot in the MAC tournament.

“I want to see us continue to improve every day,” Senderoff said. “We still have to do over these final five games.”

Kent State opened the game with a 10-6 scoring run as redshirt senior forward Miryne Thomas converted on two shots from behind the arc.

Over the next four minutes, the Flashes continued their hot start, extending their lead to 17-10.

The Broncos did not make their first basket inside the 3-point line until the 11-minute mark of the half.

“We guarded really well tonight and played really hard,” Senderoff said. “That’s the formula for us to be successful, so we got to keep that going.”

KSU then went on a 13-2 scoring run, the score was now 30-12 with eight minutes remaining in the first half.

Over the four minutes, both teams traded baskets leading to a 39-20 Kent State lead.

In the final minutes, the Flashes outscored WMU 12-3, going into halftime with their largest game lead at 50-23.

At the break, the Kent State defense allowed eight made shots, with four Bronco shots coming inside the 3-point line, also forcing 12 turnovers, leading to 18 points.

Redshirt senior guard Malique Jacobs led all players in points (11), and redshirt sophomore forward VonCameron Davis added eight points.

Kent State’s offense picked up where it left off, going on a 10-4 scoring run to start the second half. The score was now 60-27.

The Flashes continued to dominate, leading 66-34 with 12 minutes remaining in the game.

The Broncos went on a 15-0 scoring run, cutting the deficit to 72-51 with six minutes left.

The Flashes then finished the game on a 10-7 scoring run, as sophomore guard Julius Rollins scored five points.

VonCameron finished with a career-high 21 points and was 3-of-5 from behind the line.

“He played really well tonight and has been putting together good games for us,” Senderoff said. “He was able to provide a lot of energy for us tonight.”

Jacobs added 12 points, six rebounds and six assists.

The KSU bench added 31 points, including 12 points from Rollins.

“Julius has been able to see more action the last couple of games,” Senderoff said. “He was able to provide a spark for us tonight off of the bench.”

The Flashes grabbed 41 rebounds to the Bronco 20 – Kent State recorded 16 offensive rebounds, leading to 19 second-chance points.

Back in the M.A.C.C.

Kent State will return home to take on Eastern Michigan (6-20).

The Eagles are in seventh place in the MAC at 3-10 in the conference.

Tip-off is 6 p.m. Friday.

In their previous matchup this season, the Flashes defeated EMU 77-63 on Jan. 17.

“It’ll be nice to be back at home and in front of the fans again,” Senderoff said. “I can’t say enough about how impactful having a great home environment has been for us this season.”

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