KENT--The Kent State offense most people expected to see this season finally
made an appearance in the Golden Flashes 72-55 rout over Toledo on Sunday at
the MAC Center.
Junior forward Justin Greene hit every jump-hook
he attempted; point guard Michael Porrini created shots and drove
lane and guards Carlton Guyton and Rodriquez Sherman consistently
scored from the outside.
That textbook description was almost reality in Kent State's smooth
and efficient win over the Rockets that left them tied atop the Mid-American
Conference East Division standings.
Greene, who has struggled in the past two weeks on the offensive end of the
floor, was nearly flawless, totaling 20 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.
"[Greene] went back to what makes him really good," head coach
Geno Ford said. "Turning over his right shoulder and hitting
the turn-around baseline jumper--when I saw him make that shot in the first
half, I said, 'OK, he's going to play today.' Everyone jumps
way up to take away his left shoulder so he can't get to his jump-hook.
When he's got that shot going it's really tough to guard him."
Greene was perfect shooting the ball until he missed a free throw with just
under 14 minutes left and the game was already out of reach, with KSU holding
a 23 point advantage.
Despite the offensive output, a recurring theme reared its head once again
on Sunday with the Flashes holding a 20-point lead.
"We definitely went to sleep in the second half," Ford said, speaking
of KSU's lack of urgency with a big lead. "Our energy level and
concentration in the second half was poor to say the least."
Porrini finished the day with 10 points, six assists, three rebounds and three
steals. Guyton contributed 10 points, seven rebounds and two steals.
Junior Justin Manns didn't contribute much offensively, mostly
because he hosted a block party at the other end of the floor. Manns accounted
for four of Kent State's seven blocks.
The Golden Flashes also had nine steals for a combined 17 forced turnovers
to Toledo's four.
Freshman Mark Henniger also played as well as he has all season,
and with Manns, has locked up most of the playing time at the four spot.
Henniger scored six to go along with three rebounds in 14 minutes.
"We finally have put ourselves in a position where it looks like we'll
be in a chase for a championship into the last week of the season," Ford
said. "There's not a lot of luck involved in winning the regular
season [title]. It's the best team over the course of three months. In
a regular season you count on so many guys. Our rotation isn't the same
it was in December--it's always evolving."
Toledo's Malcolm Griffin had been averaging 25.8 points per game over
his last four games coming into Sunday, but could only see the floor for 20
minutes due to foul trouble. Griffin scored eight points but was largely a
With the win, the 5-2 Golden Flashes are in a three-way tie for first atop
the MAC East with Buffalo and Bowling Green. With Kent State and Ohio both
defeating previously undefeated Ball State, the West Division leader, it looks
as if the East again is the tougher of the two MAC divisions.
Kent State continues its West swing when the Golden Flashes travel to Western
Michigan on Wednesday.
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