Kent State Wins Overtime Nail Biter Over Furman 78-74
Golden Flashes win 11th straight home game
KENT, Ohio – Kent State junior forward Justin Greene (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln) scored a game-high 23 points, including six in overtime to lead the Golden Flashes basketball team to a 78-74 victory over visiting Furman on Friday Night in the M.A.C. Center. Kent State extended its home court winning streak to 11 straight with the win while improving to 4-1 on the year. The Paladins fell to 2-1 with the loss.
Kent State led 38-31 at half time, but Furman pieced together an 11-4 run to start the second half that evened the count at 42-42 at the 13:36 mark. After a time out, the defense took over for the Golden Flashes forcing six of the 11 second half turnovers committed by the Paladins in the next five minutes of play. The stretch led to a 15-2 run by Kent State that was jumped started by a Carlton Guyton (Chicago, Ill. / Mineral Area J.C. [Mo.]) three-pointer. Guyton would finish the game with 13 points and three steals.
Leading by 13 with less than eight-minutes to play, the game appeared to be in the hands of Kent State, but Furman continued to battle as the Golden Flashes showed signs of playing their fifth game in a span of eight days. The Paladins would hold Kent State to just a pair of baskets by junior guard Michael Porrini (Massillon, Ohio/Gulf Coast C.C. [Fla.]) in the final four minutes as a 15-4 stretch to end regulation knotted the score at 65-65. Noah States (17 points) delivered the biggest shot of the night for Furman when he canned one of his three, three-pointers from the left win with 12 second left to tie the game. After a timeout with six seconds remaining, Kent State had one last chance to win it before overtime, but an elbow jumper by senior guard Rodriquez Sherman (Indianapolis, Ind./Ben Davis) rimed out as the buzzer sounded.
In overtime, Greene took over the game. Plagued by double-teams after scoring 15 first half points, the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year Candidate found the open man for assists on the first two possessions for Kent State then scored on the next two with a tip in and a jumper in the lane. With the Golden Flashes now ahead by five (73-68), Greene came up with a block on the other end that led to a fast break. Kent State was unable to convert as States made another three-pointer to keep Furman within striking distance. Following a Sherman left-handed lay-up, a three from Amu Saaka (21 points, 11 rebounds) cut the lead to a single point with 29 seconds left to play. Porrini would make the first of two free throws on the other end before coming up with a loose ball rebound in the corner after a Paladin miss in the final 10 seconds. Greene then capped off his third 20-point game of the year with two free throws to seal it.
"They were doubling me a lot, but my teammates stepped up," said Greene, who matched his career high with four assists. "They did what they had to do. It's not just a one-man show, it's a whole team. We have a lot of good players, and everybody stepped up and took care of business tonight."
Porrini finished his night with a Kent State career high 16 points while adding a team high six rebounds and matching Guyton with three steals. Junior center Justin Manns (Winston-Salem, N.C./Owens C.C. [Ohio]) has posted a career best 11 points while Sherman finished with 10 points, including a perfect 6-6 from the foul line.
Kent State shot 48.2 percent for the game, but was just 1-10 from three. Furman connected on 42.9 percent, including a 52.0 percent (13-25) clip in the second half. The Golden Flashes held a 23-34 (67.6 percent) to 8-12 (75.0 percent) advantage at the foul line.
"Five games in eight days is tough. We've played a lot of good teams, and we've played a lot of veteran teams. ," said Head Coach Geno Ford. "We were able to survive this opening stretch, so hopefully we can now get to where we make our team better. We haven't had a regular practice in ten days and it's hard to get better when you're just playing everyday. You've got to get better on the practice floor."
Kent State will finish out the World Vision Classic at Cleveland State versus Urbana on Tuesday at 5:00 P.M. in the Wolstein Center. The Golden Flashes next home game is Friday, November 26 against Lehigh at 7:30 P.M. Fans who go to the Kent State football game at 11:00 A.M against Ohio will get free admission to the basketball game with presentation of your ticket stub. For more information contact the ticket office at 330-672-2244.
• Eighth overtime game in Geno Ford's three years as head coach. Kent State is 4-4 in overtime under Ford.
• 10th career 20-point game for Justin Greene. Third 20-point game of the season for Greene.
• Dating back to last season Greene has had double digits in a career long seven consecutive games.
• Kent State made just one three-point field goal, but it extended the streak to 366 consecutive games with a made three-pointer.
• Rodriquez Sherman was 6-6 from the foul line and is 19-21 (90.4%) on the season. Sherman entered the year a 63.7 percent shooter from the foul line for his career.
Post Game Quotes:
On his rebounding:
I had six rebounds. I've always been a rebounder. I've always been a stat-sheet stuffer. They call me that back home. I feel that rebounds are a key to success. We allowed for Cleveland State to come back by us not rebounding, and I couldn't allow for that to happen tonight.
On the double teams:
They were doubling me a lot, but my teammates stepped up. They did what they had to do. It's not just a one-man show, it's a whole team. We've got a lot of good players, and everybody stepped up and took care of business tonight.
Head Coach Geno Ford
On the rebounding:
I am far from the best coach in the country, but I don't know the coaching to tell a guy how to go get it. You've got to find a way. There is no miracle cure for that. It's toughness. It's aggressiveness. It's attitude. It's all those kind of things. I think a lot of what you say – to be fair – is Furman is a very veteran, strong, physical team, and they physically manhandled us… We came up with just enough to win.
On the team's schedule:
Five games in eight days is tough. If you would've told me 4-1, I would've taken it and ran. We've played a lot of good teams, and we've played a lot of veteran teams. We've been able to survive it. So, hopefully, we can now get to where we make our team better. We haven't had a regular practice in ten days… It's hard to get better when you're just playing everyday. You've got to get better on the practice floor.
On the team's development:
If we're going to compete for a championship, we've got to have better production, particularly out of our second string guys when they go in there. It's hard because our backup post guys are freshman. So, it's a tough role… They're going to adjust. They're going to do nothing but get better. At this point, to go against a fifth-year senior like they have, they weren't quite ready. Hopefully, we can get them ready.
On the team's youth:
I expected it to be like it's been, and I'm not sure I expected that we would necessarily win as much as we have. This was coming. It's the least we've had back since 1996. It wasn't going to be a pleasure cruise. We are what we are. We've got a lot of lessons to learn, and, fortunately, we've been able to win, and the hope is that we can learn from winning because that's a whole lot more fun than learning from losing… It's not going to be a pleasure cruise. This is going to be a rocky road for a while. We're going to be good in stretches… We just have to continue to get better.