Men’s basketball overpowers Ohio in second half


Matthew Brown

The Kent State men’s basketball team celebrates as the game enters its final seconds with the Flashes in the lead Feb. 28, 2023. The Flashes would win the game against Ohio University 82-75.

Jacob Shondel, Reporter

The Kent State men’s basketball team relied on its second-half defense in a comeback win Tuesday night against Ohio.

After allowing eight 3-pointers in the first half, Kent State limited the Bobcats to four shots from behind the arc in the final 20 minutes at the M.A.C.C. on its way to an 82-75 victory.

It was the 21st consecutive home win for the Flashes (24-6), which improved to 14-3 in the Mid-American Conference, remaining in second place. Toledo currently sits in first.

OU falls to 17-13 overall, and its 9-8 conference record has the team in fifth place.

After falling behind 50-40 early in the second half, KSU went on a 16-5 scoring run to retake the lead.

“I feel like we’ve been in those situations a couple of times this year, and I felt like today was one of our best days,” redshirt senior Sincere Carry said. “We didn’t argue, and we didn’t point a finger at anybody; we just kept our heads down and grinded out as a team.”

There would be four lead changes in the final 10 minutes of the game. Carry hit his fourth 3-pointer putting KSU up 76-70 with 3:40 remaining.

Kent State redshirt senior Sincere Carry dribbles the ball up the court during the game against Ohio University on Feb. 28, 2023. The Flashes would win the game against Ohio University 82-75. (Matthew Brown)

In the game’s final three minutes, both teams traded baskets as Ohio shot 1-of-6 from behind the arc.

After watching 50% of the Bobcat 3-pointers fall in the first half, Carry said “they just outplayed us.”

“We just had to play harder, communicate a little bit more, and be on point for our rotations,” he said. “Then we started switching the floor so that we could be more active on defense and make them put the ball on the ground.”

After shooting 50% from the field in the first half, the Bobcats were held to 39.4% in the second half. KSU improved its 48.3% shooting to 60.7% during that same time.

Over the last three games, redshirt senior Malique Jacobs has averaged 16.6 points; against OU, he scored 15.

“I’m just staying with myself,” Jacobs said. “Staying in the gym and being able to stay confident once I’m out there.”

Carry finished with a game-high 23 points – he has scored 20 or more points in two of the last three games.

“It’s great to see because he’s come as far as any player that I’ve coached in one season,” coach Rob Senderoff said. “He really struggled early in the year, and to his credit, and his credit alone, he kept with it. I think it’s a great testament to him and his character as a basketball player, and when you watch him play now, you would never know that he struggled.”

Chris Payton has scored in double figures in nine of his last 12 games.

Kent State redshirt senior Malique Jacobs looks for an open teammate to pass the ball to during the game against Ohio University Feb. 28, 2023. (Matthew Brown)

TSDTR comes to town 

The Flashes will play their final home game against Akron at 6 p.m. Friday.

The Zips (21-9, 13-4) are in third place in the MAC. KSU was defeated 67-55 when the two teams met on Feb. 3.

A Kent State victory would tie the most regular-season wins in program history when the 2007-08 team won 25 games.

“We have a chance to go undefeated at home, and we have a chance to win the league if some things break for us,” Senderoff said. “Their student section was fantastic when we went there, and now we’ve got to sort of match that and step our game up even more here Friday night.”

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