Kent State Moves Into A Tie For First After A 78-57 Win Over Miami
Box Score (.PDF)
Golden Flashes hit a season high 11 three-three pointers
KENT, Ohio – Kent State moved into a four-way tie for first place in the Mid-American Conference East Division following a 78-57 win today over Miami at the M.A.C. Center. Sharing identical 3-2 league records, the Golden Flashes (12-7; 3-2) are now tied with Miami (8-11; 3-2), Bowling Green and Buffalo following the first swing through the East Division.
Sophomore Randal Holt (Cleveland, Ohio/Bedford) helped spark a Kent State offense that hit a season best 11 three-pointers today by pouring in a career high 22 points and shooting 6-8 from three. Senior Rodriquez Sherman (Indianapolis, Ind./Ben Davis) and junior Carlton Guyton (Chicago, Ill. / Mineral Area C.C. [Mo.]) were also in double figures scoring 14 and 12 points respectively.
"I liked our ball movement. We got it inside. We got it outside. We swung it. We made extra passes," said Head Coach Geno Ford. "We were just trying to just find the open guy and today we had a nice rhythm offensively. Hopefully that's something we can continue."
In the first half, Kent State forced eight turnovers which led to a 15-0 run during a four-minute stretch that put the Golden Flashes in the lead for good. With Miami ahead 22-18 at the nine-minute mark, Holt found his stroke from the outside hitting the one of his four first half three-pointers off a steal and assist from junior Michael Porrini (Massillon, Ohio/Gulf Coast C.C. [Fla.]). The defense continued for the Golden Flashes which forced the RedHawks into turnovers on their next seven trips down the floor. The turnovers led to easy baskets for Kent State which flipped the four-point deficit into 31-22 lead with five minutes left in the half.
"We just had to have a sense of urgency and have everyone raise their tempo on the defensive end," said Sherman who also had four assists and no turnovers. "We had to get up in them and speed them up to make them turn the ball over. Eric Gaines (five steals) did a good job on the point guard. We just fed off his energy on the defensive end and kept them moving."
Miami, which started out the game shooting 10-13 from the field, continued to make shots closing the gap to four (33-29) just two minutes later before Kent State went back up by 10 (39-29) on a fast break lay-up by Porrini in the final seconds of the half.
After the break, the Golden Flashes kept the offense going hitting their first four shots of the second half. Another three by Holt, who is shooting 48.1 percent (13-27) from beyond the arc during MAC play, gave Kent State a 17-point (49-32) cushion just three-minutes into the period. The Redhawks would get as close as 12 points (51-39) on a three by Chris Henry at the 13:50 mark, but Guyton, who added five assists, quickly answered with back-to-back jumpers as the Golden Flashes went on to post their largest win over Miami since 1990.
For the game Kent State recorded a season-high 14 steals while forcing 22 Miami turnovers. The Golden Flashes shot 11-23 (47.8 percent) from three and 46.9 percent (30-64) for the game. After starting out 10-13 (76.9 percent) in the first 13 minutes, the RedHawks started to cool making just 10-35 (28.6 percent) the remainder of the game.
Kent State begins the MAC West swing on Thursday, January 27 as the Golden Flashes travel to Division leader Ball State (13-4; 5-0) for a 7:00 p.m. contest.
• Kent State had a 20-2 advantage in points off turnovers and a 13-0 lead in fast break points in the first half.
• During a 15-0 first half run that last four minutes, the Golden Flashes forced Miami into a turnover on eight straight trips down the floor. Kent State meanwhile scored on seven of its eight possessions.
• Kent State is 8-0 this season and has won 19 straight dating back to last year when scoring at least 70 points.
• Kent State is 10-1 this season and has won eight straight when scoring 30+ points in the paint. Kent State had a 36-14 edge.
• Kent State has forced an average of 21.5 turnovers in the last two games (22 tonight, 21 at Buffalo).
• Kent State has won the last nine home games against MAC opponents.
• The 21 point win was the largest over Miami since Feb. 17, 1990 when Kent State won 86-56 at the M.A.C. Center. It is the third largest victory ever by Kent State over Miami.
• During MAC play Holt is averaging a team high 13.8 points per game and shooting 48.1 percent (13-27) from three.
• The five steals by Eric Gaines are the most by a Kent State player this season
Kent State Sophomore Randal Holt
On getting out of the slump
It has been tough. That's just coming from my coaches and teammates having faith in me. Always standing together as a family and just egging each other on and giving each other confidence. Just letting each other know that it's okay. We've got your back.
On his success
I've been working on just staying focused on winning. Individual success is going to come with team success. If you've got a good team then certain players are going to stand out, if not everybody. We just want to stick together as a team and egg on wins.
Kent State senior Rodriquez Sherman
On supporting Holt during his slump
That's basketball. You have slumps. That's why it's called a team. Other people step up. Randal's come out, and he's been playing really well the last 4 or 5 games. He's been stepping up for us, and that's something we've needed him to do. He stepped up to the challenge… We've been behind him the whole time. That's what teams are for.
Miami Head Coach Charlie Coles
We didn't take care of the ball. Now, I think four of them were on me. I didn't get my players ready for that trap. I really didn't. So, if we would've had our regular compliment of players, I don't know if we could've beat that trap. That was the first thing. The second thing is we just tried to force the ball. When we did force the ball, we weren't strong with it. Going into the game, I thought our weakness would be inside. That wasn't our weakness. Guard play was our weakness. I thought our big guys accounted real well for themselves.
On Kent State's guard play
I tell you what – boy, he's (Holt) playing good. You add that to Porrini, who is the weightlifting champ of Cuyahoga County. That kid is so strong it is pitiful. He took Ballard out of the game today. I heard he was strong, but, being out of the game watching him, you don't take Ballard out of the games like that. The guard play was excellent.
Kent State Head Coach Geno Ford
On ball movement
I liked our ball movement. We got it inside. We got it outside. We swung it. We made extra passes. We're trying to just find the open guy. Today, we had a nice rhythm offensively. Hopefully, that's something we can continue. We've shown at other times, but it's not something we've sustained. Now, at some point, we've got to play with the same ball movement, the same rhythm, the same timing offensively on the road.
On Miami's turnovers
That was where we were able to get the game a little bit swung our way. It's (the press) something that we haven't been able to do because we were thin on our rotation. It was effective tonight. I think it was effective for us because not only did we get the steals, but we also got charges because the game got sped up.