The Golden Flashes completely dismantled the outmanned Premier

By Allen Moff Record-Courier staff writer Published:

The Golden Flashes completely dismantled the outmanned Premier All-Stars, which endured a 124-86 flogging at the MAC Center on Thursday.

Kent did basically whatever it wanted for 40 straight minutes. The vaunted press forced 34 turnovers which led to countless layups, while the Flashes' high-powered offense generated easy shots virtually every time down the floor.

"I've said it before and I'll say it again, this is a very good offensive team," said Kent coach Gary Waters. "One thing this team really does well is move the basketball and find the open man."

That man, among many others, was John Whorton whenever he had the chance to run the floor and fill the lane. Kent's preseason All-Mid-American Conference senior center poured in a team-high 27 points by hitting 12-of-16 field goals, most of which were layups.

However, the most impressive player on the floor for the Flashes was Eric Thomas.

The junior forward has been somewhat of a surprise starter at small forward in Kent's two exhibition games. After all he averaged just 3.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per game in limited duty last season, his first as a collegian after sitting out 1997-98 as a partial academic qualifier.

"A year ago Eric played like a true freshman," said Waters. "He didn't look to do anything for himself, he just did what the coaches told him to do and what was best for the team. But now when he sees an opening, he's not afraid to take it.

"Trust me, Eric's a player."

Thomas was an exceptional all-around player against the Premier All-Stars. He scored 18 points by connecting on 8-of-9 field goals, dished out eight assists, grabbed three rebounds and even piled up five steals and a pair of charges on the defensive end.

"Eric has an excellent bank shot," said Waters. "He made several tonight, and that's no fluke. He does that every day in practice."

In practice those shots are actually contested.

But on Thursday night they weren't.

Only eight players suited up for the Premier All-Stars, and all of their tongues were dragging before the first half buzzer sounded _ with Kent already up 69-41.

However, those same eight players plus a guard who was absent on Thursday actually beat Western Michigan handily and played several other MAC teams tough in the first half before running out of gas.

"That's actually not that bad of a team," said Waters. "We played pretty well tonight. We're still fouling too much but we shot free throws much better, and that was a concern of mine."

After converting just 21-of-36 charity tosses in Tuesday's exhibition game, Kent drained 21-of-27 free throws against the Premier All-Stars.

Demetric Shaw finished with 14 points, while Andrew Mitchell contributed 13 points and eight assists and Trevor Huffman added 13 points and six assists for the Flashes, who will host Youngstown State in Tuesday's opener.

"I like where we are right now," said Waters. "I feel we're in good shape physically, we're playing hard and we're executing to a degree the things we're trying to do."

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