Kent State Shoots Past ULM 69-53
Golden Flashes celebrate the M.A.C. Center's 60th Anniversary by hitting 10, 3-pointers
KENT, Ohio – On a night when they were celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the M.A.C. Center, the Kent State men's basketball team (7-1) hit a season-high 10 three-pointers to help extend their home winning streak to 13 straight games as they knocked off Louisiana at Monroe (2-6), 69-53.
Junior guard Carlton Guyton (Chicago, Ill. / Mineral Area C.C. [Mo.]) led the attack from beyond the arc connect on 5-7 as he finished with 17 points and seven rebounds. Junior forward Justin Greene (Brooklyn, N.Y. / Lincoln) added 17 as well to paced the Golden Flashes to their fifth straight win. Junior guard Michael Porrini (Massillon, Ohio / Gulf Coast C.C. [Fla.]) helped set up an offense that assisted on 23 of 26 made baskets. Porrini ended another all-around effort with a career-high eight assists while adding three steals four the fourth consecutive game.
"Everyone is playing unselfish and being in the right position and making the pass," said Guyton who also added three assists to his stat line. "We all managed to knock down shots tonight."
The teams traded baskets throughout the first half until the 7:23 mark when Kent State went on a 16-1 spurt to close the half and take the lead for good 30-19. Greene sparked the run which left the Golden Flashes up 30-19 at halftime with seven points, while Randal Holt (Cleveland, Ohio / Glenville) connected from three twice. Kent State's pressuring defense limited the Warhawks to just 36 percent shooting and 10 turnovers in the first half.
"We had a lot of energy before the game and although it slowed down the second half we still had quickness," said Head Coach Geno Ford who won his 50th career game at Kent State. "The positives we are able to take from tonight are the fact that we forced 17 turnovers, had 11 steals and only three unassisted baskets."
ULM managed to keep within striking distance for the first eight minutes of the second half as the lead fluctuated between six and 14 points; however, Kent State went on an 8-0 spurt behind five points from freshman Eric Gaines (Chicago, Ill. / Hillcrest) and a three by Guyton to put the game out of reach.
"I felt 'Scooter' (Robert Johnson) helped push the lead out," said Ford "Just like most freshman it's about learning to play hard. He's getting more consistent and Gaines has been good through most of the year."
In the second half, the Golden Flashes shot 6-9 from downtown and finished the game 10-21. Kent State shot 49.1 percent for the game, forced 17 turnovers and recorded 11 steals.
Hugh Mingo was the only Warhawk in double figures with 16 points.
Off to the best start since the 2002-03 went 9-1, Kent State travels out of the state of Ohio for the first time this season on Sunday. The Golden Flashes will head to Alabama to face UAB at 8 p.m. (EST) before visiting Florida for an ESPN2 nationally televised game on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m.
• The 10 three-pointers made by Kent State are a season high and are the most since the team made 10 on Jan. 20, 2010 vs Buffalo
• Kent State totaled 10 three-pointers in the previous four games combined.
• Kent State has now won 13 straight at home to equal the fourth longest winning streak in the M.A.C. Center
• The 13 game streak is also tied for the 11th longest active streak in the country
• The 23 assists are the most by Kent State since last season the team had 25 vs Texas A&M-CC
• The win was the 50th career victory by Geno Ford at Kent State
• After a season low 5 points vs Furman, the Kent State bench is averaging 24.3 ppg in the last three games.
On making his first few 3-pointers
"After the first one, I felt good. The second one was when I knew I felt good."
On moving the ball well
"Everyone is playing unselfish and being in the right position and making the pass. We all managed to knock down shots tonight."
On second half steals
"Coach wanted us to play aggressively, so I was able to help and get the steals. We just tried to keep the game on temp because they were trying to slow the game down."
On freshman teammates and adjusting to college game
"We're getting adjusted to the game, so we're getting better now."
Coach Geno Ford
On ULM's possession time
"Their game plan was to get the pace as slow as possible. They wanted to make long possessions."
On pace of the game
"We had a lot of energy before the game but it slowed down the second half, but we had quickness. We forced 17 turnovers had 11 steals and only 3 unassisted baskets, so we were sharing the ball and making the baskets."
On guards with rebounding on defense
"Our guards did a great job on defensive rebounding, Guyton had 7 all on the defensive end, Porini had 3 and he is in the top 10 in rebounding in the league and he's a point guard."
On Freshman players
"I felt Scooter helped push the lead out. He's getting more consistent. Just like most freshman it's about learning to play hard. Gaines has been good through most of the year."
On taking young players on road trip
It's time to find out where we are. UAB is 7-1 and they are good. Last time we were on the road against Cleveland State and lost a game that we had a chance to win. Now we're playing a team that's just as good, if not better, than Cleveland State and then we have Florida after that who has had their wake-up call. Hopefully we've learned from winning. We'll see on Sunday.
ULM Head Coach Keith Richard
On double teaming Greene
"Greene is such a good player and as they move out, you hope the 3 doesn't go in. We didn't do a good job of closing back out. But I have to give the kid credit for making the shots."
On last six minutes of the first half
"I thought we did a good job defesivley and a nice job offensively. We aren't a good ball handling team and turnovers and fast break-points, we really struggled with. From a one-point game to and eleven point game, well that was too much of a separation for us."
On Kent State's shooting
"I know that Guyton had a big night. I don't know if he is that good of a shooter or not, maybe he is or maybe we left him open too much. I'm sure on their end it was good to see, percentage wise."