Kent State Alone in First After 66-53 Win Over Central Michigan
Box Score (.pdf)
Golden Flashes earn home win No. 500 in the M.A.C. Center
KENT, Ohio – Kent State took over first place in Mid-American Conference East Division following a 66-53 win over Central Michigan Saturday evening. The victory marked win No. 500 at the M.A.C. Center for the Golden Flashes which are celebrating their 60th anniversary in the historic building that sits as the 19th oldest in NCAA Division I
Kent State's (15-7; 6-2) fourth consecutive win accompanied with losses by Bowling Green and Buffalo on Saturday currently has the Golden Flashes a half-game in front in the MAC East Division race. At 6-3 Miami is also among the three teams behind KSU.
Senior guard Rodriquez Sherman (Indianapolis, Ind./Ben Davis) led all scorers with 17 points while grabbing a season-high eight rebounds to lead a balanced attack for Kent State which had five different players score at least eight points and four players secure at least six rebounds. Junior forward Justin Greene (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln) was the only other player in double figures for the Golden Flashes totaling 12 points and eight rebounds while chipping in with three assists and two blocks.
Junior Carlton Guyton (Chicago, Ill. / Mineral Area C.C. [Mo.]) knocked down a three-pointer from the top of the key to cap off a 12-2 by Kent State to start the game. The Golden Flashes built the lead after they allowed only a put-back dunk by William McClure in the opening five minutes and held the Chipewas to just 1-10 shooting from the field.
"When we've won, it's been because of defense," said Head Coach Geno Ford. "If you look at our numbers, we're one of the league leaders in field goal percentage defense, three point percentage defense and steals. We do all of those things pretty well. That team (Central Michigan) has taken care of the ball better than any other team during league play, and we were able to get eight steals off of them and force 17 turnovers. Our defense bothered them at the level we needed it to."
Despite making just one field goal in a six-minute stretch of the first half, Kent State continued to dominate the game on the defensive end. The offense started going again when sophomore Randal Holt (Cleveland, Ohio/Bedford) hit a three and junior Justin Manns (Winston-Salem, N.C./Owens C.C. [Ohio]) followed with a dunk to give the Golden Flashes their largest lead of the first half, 23-6 with just under five minute remaining in the period. Holt closed out the game with eight points while Manns finished with six points to go along with seven rebounds and three blocked shots.
Central Michigan (6-16; 3-6), which made just 25 percent (7-25) from the field in the opening half, closed to within 12 before Kent State took a 33-19 lead at the break.
In the second half the Golden Flashes kept up the defense holding the Chippewas to just 1-8 shooting in the first five minutes. Kent State used the poor shooting by Central Michigan to push its advantage to 20 points (42-22) on another three from Guyton at the 15:20 mark. Guyton would go on to lead the team with five assists while adding eight points and six rebounds.
Later an 11-2 run by the Chippewas trimmed the deficit to 10 (57-47) with 4:15 still left to play, but Greene answered with a dunk before Sherman knocked down a three around the two-minute mark to put the game away and give the Golden Flashes their sixth win in the last seven games.
Kent State has now won 20 straight win over MAC West opponents and held Central Michigan to just 31.6 percent (18-57) shooting for the game. The Golden Flashes ended the night shooting 42.6 percent (23-54) after hitting on 68.4 percent (13-19) in the second half. Junior Michael Porrini (Massillon, Ohio/Gulf Coast C.C. [Fla.]), who also had nine points, equaled a career high with four steals as he recorded his 12th game of the year with three or more takeaways.
"Mike's a really good defender because he possesses this rare quickness and strength and energy level," said Ford. "I've always said playing hard is a skill. Some guys have that and some guys don't. You never have to question Mike's energy level."
Kent State hosts Eastern Michigan on Wednesday, February 9 at 7:00 p.m. For tickets Call 330-672-2244.
• Kent State has now won 20 straight games against MAC West opponents.
• The win was No. 500 all-time for Kent State in the M.A.C. Center (500-248) which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.
• The Golden Flashes have now won 11 straight home games against MAC opponents and improve to 61-6 (.911) at home against the MAC since the start of the 2003-04 season.
• Kent State is 35-5 in the month of February since the 2005-06 season
• Kent State has now won 10 straight and 17 of the past 18 against Central Michigan
POST GAME QUOTES:
Kent State Head Coach Geno Ford
On junior guard Michael Porrini's defense:
"Mike's a really good defender because he possesses this rare quickness and strength and energy level. I've always said playing hard is a skill. Some guys have that and some guys don't. You never have to question Mike's energy level. Some nights he's better than others, but effort-wise, he's always there. He's tough to score on because he's got a good body and he's quick. He's also got a mentality that he wants you to take tough shots, and he takes it really personal when he gets scored on."
On team's defensive play:
"When we've won, it's been because of defense. If you look at our numbers, we're one of the league leaders in field goal percentage defense, three point percentage defense and steals. We do all of those things pretty well. That team (Central Michigan) takes care of the ball better than any other team in our league, and we were able to get eight steals off of them and force 17 turnovers. Our defense bothered them at the level we needed it to."
On closing out games:
"One thing we haven't been real good at is when we've gotten leads, really making it a no-doubter. It's hard to do. We have not all year been able to get a game where we've really finished with a thumb on a team and buried them. That's a mental toughness thing. We haven't developed a mentality of where you build a substantial lead and you continue to make plays."
Kent State Fifth-Year Senior Guard Rodriquez Sherman
On team's success against the MAC West Division:
"We've just got to keep this thing rolling. Right now, it's like a snowball rolling down a hill getting bigger and bigger, and we've just got to keep winning and keep it going."
Central Michigan Head Coach Ernie Zeigler
"I thought they (Kent State) came out with a sense of purpose. Defensively, they were really good to start the game and had us extremely stagnant. We weren't able to take advantage of some of the situational things. We were unable to take advantage of spreading the floor and driving. It definitely contributed to us struggling offensively."