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Pledging the Kent State University men's basketball team would overcome inexperience and play more consistently on the home turf, Head Coach Rob Senderoff urged the community to turn out for the games and show their support.
"We'll need you for our next two home games," he said before a crowd of more than 60 attending the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon, one in a series of monthly luncheons and breakfasts the chamber hosts through the year.
Those are games against arch rival Akron on Jan. 19, and highly rated Ohio University on Jan. 26. Senderoff labeled them, "the two leading teams" in Mid-American Conference basketball. The Akron Zips, he said, have Zeke Marshall, a 7-foot senior.
"He's a game-changer," Senderoff said.
Ohio University, he added, "went to the Sweet 16 last year and has 92 percent of that team returning."
By contrast, Senderoff described the Flashes as a team that is rebuilding with only two seniors who played regularly last year -- Randal Holt. a 6-foot-1-inch guard, and Chris Events, a 6-foot-eight-inch forward, currently starting. He said that another potential senior starter, Chris Ortiz, a 6-foot-eight-inch forward, has been inactive for six week because of a foot fracture.
"He may be well enough to start Saturday," the coach said. The Flashes travel to Muncie, Ind. to play Ball State on Saturday.
Senderoff expressed disappointment in Wednesday night's loss to the Toledo Rockets who handed the Flashes a 70-58 defeat.
"It's not the way I wanted to start our Mid-American Conference competition," he said. But he said that the Rockets, who emerged with a 5-7 record as opposed to the Flashes 9-6 record, "are a better team than they appear to be on paper."
"They played well," he acknowledge and then said KSU is capable of playing much better, but has been inconsistent since the season began.
"We're going to review the film," he said. "I know we can play better."
Lori Wemhoff, executive director of the chamber, introduced Michelle Hartman, this year's president, and other directors and officers. She also introduced representative of the KSU Department of Recreational Services, which operates the Student Recreation and Wellness Center and which sponsored the chamber's luncheon.
Maggie McKendry of the Department of Recreation Services mentioned a series of promotions and activities available to the public including a discounted membership promotion for use of the wellness center.