Kent State Comeback Comes Up Short In 80-73 Loss To Coll. of Charleston
Box Score (.PDF)
Golden Flashes cut 19-point deficit to two points in five minutes
KENT, Ohio – A feverish Kent State (19-7) rally in the final nine minutes wasn't quite enough in an 80-73 loss to College of Charleston (17-11) in a Sears BracketBuster contest Saturday night at in the M.A.C. Center. The Golden Flashes had their seven game winning streak stopped despite using an 18-1 run that brought the margin to within two points in the final four minutes after trailing by 19 points with nine minutes to go.
Junior Chris Evans (Chesapeake, Va.) posted his first career double-double at Kent State with a team high 16 points and 13 rebounds. Senior guard Carlton Guyton (Chicago, Ill.) also added 16 in the game but the Golden Flashes where unable to overcome an off night from beyond the arc and the absence of senior forward Justin Greene (Brooklyn, N.Y.) who missed the game due to injury.
Playing in front of the 2002 Elite Eight team which was honored at halftime, Kent State dominated the game in the early going taking a 17-5 lead in the first eight minutes of the game due in large part to the play of sophomore Mark Henniger (Massillon, Ohio) who earned the start in place of Greene. Charleston slowly started to catch up and catch fire from beyond the arc as the Cougars took a 36-33 lead at halftime. Nori Johnson did the majority of the damage hitting four three-pointers in the final 11 minutes of the half in which he totaled 16 of his game high 27 points.
Johnson continued his onslaught after the break hitting his fifth three of the game as part of a 9-0 run by Charleston to open the second period. The margin would then grow to as many at 19 before the Golden Flashes finally broke through. After missing its first 18 three-point attempts, Kent State hit its next four and six of 11 down the stretch, several of which came during the 18-1 run that brought the M.A.C. Center faithful to their feet and the Golden Flashes back into the game.
Junior guard Randal Holt (Cleveland, Ohio) hit three, three-pointers during the run before Guyton finished off the stretch with a fastbreak lay-up off a Holt steal to pull within two at 68-66 with 3:53 left. After a defensive stop, Kent State had the chance to tie the game, but a baseline jumper by sophomore guard Eric Gaines (Chicago, Ill.) was just off the mark. The Cougars scored on the other end, yet Kent State still hung close until the final 30 seconds when Charleston sealed the game at the line.
Kent State returns to Mid-American Conference play with road games at Miami on Tuesday and at Bowling Green next Saturday. Both games can bee seen on SportsTime Ohio. Follow the action on the radio at WNIR 100.1 FM or listen online at www.kentstatesports.com.
Kent State - Col. of Charleston Post Game Notes
• Kent State started the game 0-18 from three. Then hit 6 of its next 11
• Kent State outscored Charleston 18-1 from 8:58 in the second half to 3:53 cutting a 19-point deficit to 2 (68-66)
• The Golden Flashes are now 6-4 in BracketBuster games
• Kent State's 47 rebounds are the second most this season (48 vs Saint Peter's)
• The Golden Flashes had a season high 24 second chance points
• The loss ended a 10 game home winning streak for Kent State
• Chris Evans recorded his first career double-double at Kent State with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Its the third double-double by a Kent State player this season
• Mark Henniger had a career high with 6 rebounds.
Kent State - Col. of Charleston Post Game Quotes
Kent State Head Coach Rob Senderoff
On his message to the team when they were down 19 points:
"I told them to keep playing possession by possession and just keep battling and competing. Once we started to make some shots it lifted our defensive energy and we got some steals. We were able to get back in the game and we were just a play or two away from taking the lead. If we could have taken the lead it would have been tough for them to get it back. They made a couple plays down the stretch while we didn't and they walked out of here with a win."
On the 3-point shooting:
"Tonight's poor shooting was uncharacteristic of our team. We probably shot a few more threes than we usually do and that's probably a result of not having Justin (Greene) in there. We were 0-18 at one point, but we had been shooting 40% from three since league play started. Tonight we couldn't make them, I thought we did force some, but that happens once you get down by as many as we did."
Kent State senior guard Michael Porrini
On the slow start in the second half:
"We came out slow in the second before we decided to turn it on. The key to that game is to show that when we wanna play Kent State basketball the way it's supposed to be played, and in that game, then we can come back from a 19-point lead and make it disappear quickly we just didn't have it to close it out. We were hitting big shot that we usually hit that weren't falling We'll just get in the gym tomorrow and focus on Miami."
On having guys from the 2002 Elite Eight Team back:
"It meant a lot. Before the game they came in a talked to us. Unfortunately we weren't able to give them a good homecoming but they came in after the game and had a lot of positive words to say after to us, instead of walking away and not speaking to us because we lost. They came in and like they were saying before, when you're at Kent State you're like a family so this loss hurts them as well. They feel like they lost, but at the end we're playing for the tournament and the loss really didn't mean anything to our schedule. It doesn't bump us out of second place in the MAC. We took a home loss, which we never like to do but we have to swallow it and come out. The guys were great during the game, great before the game and great after the game. I just wish we could have made them a little more proud, but I know that they are still proud of us and that's all that matters."
Kent State junior guard Randal Holt:
On getting the shots they wanted to:
"I felt like in the first and second half we were getting the shots we are normally making and we just didn't finish them today. We fell short in the end and kind of didn't have enough gas to get over the hump. We showed a lot of effort fighting back from a 19-point deficit and hopefully we just come ready on Tuesday to get the win."
On missing the three-pointers early then hitting three in a row:
"That's just the game of basketball. Every night you're not going to be on and every night you're not going to make the shots that you normally make. You just got to try to keep defending and not let offense dictate you defense and sooner or later they'll start dropping. That's what was happening, after awhile we started hitting shots and getting into our groove but at the end of the day we just didn't have enough gas to get over the hump."