KENT--It's a shooters worst nightmare--being too wide open.
This basketball faux pas attributed to Kent State digging an early hole in
a 71-58 victory over Youngstown State on Tuesday. The Flashes opened the game
hitting just 1-of-8 shots from 3-point range, the only made shot coming off
the hands of freshman Darius Leonard just before the half.
"You can't shoot the ball if your thought process is, 'OK
I'm wide open, I have to make this, I have to get my elbow in, I have
to follow though.' You just have to catch it and shoot," said Kent
State head coach Geno Ford. "You take that extra second and
what should be a good look becomes contested and your rhythm is off."
After falling behind 17-5 early in the first half and trailing by three at
halftime, Kent State found its rhythm from behind the arc and hit five of their
last six from 3-point range to secure the come-from-behind-victory.
"Coach talked to us at halftime saying we were so open we were trying
to take our time and tee it up," senior Rodriguez Sherman said. "He
told us to just step into it and shoot it."
Sophomore guard Randal Holt paid attention to that halftime advice.
Holt missed all six shots he took in the first half but nailed three of his
last four--all 3-pointers--to spark the Flashes comeback.
The Golden Flashes often made a short run but could never tie or take the
lead until Holt's 3-pointer with just under 11 minutes left was followed
with a basket from forward Justin Greene to give KSU its first lead
of the game, 50-48.
Led by Green's game-high 21 points, Sherman's 20 points and point
guard Michael Porrini successfully speeding up the tempo of the game,
Kent State surged ahead.
KSU also received superb contributions from freshman Eric Gaines and Leonard.
Through his athleticism and high-energy play, Gaines led the Golden Flashes
on a 9-0 run early in the first half to keep Kent State within striking distance.
Gaines finished the night with 10 rebounds.
Leonard scored seven points and brought down five rebounds in only 12 minutes
of play, and Ford said his 3-pointer just before the half gave the team a big
lift going into the locker room.
Increased production from each was especially needed on this night. Kent State
was without junior Carlton Guyton due to his on-going legal issue
and center Justin Manns watched the game in street clothes in a coaches
decision for sulking on the bench after playing poorly during KSU's win
over South Florida.
Kent State (9-3) extended its home winning-streak to 15, which now stands
as the twelfth longest in the county. Greene recorded his fifth double-double
of the year with 21 points and 10 rebounds, and his lone block on the night
moved him into a tie for tenth place on KSU's career blocks list.
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