Kent State men's basketball's season ends against Loyola Maryland

By Allen Moff | Staff Writer Published:

BALTIMORE, Md. -- Poor shooting and a gimpy star spelled season-ending defeat for the Kent State men's basketball team.

The Golden Flashes shot 27.6 percent from the field, including a 2-for-11 effort by struggling First Team All-Mid-American Conference senior forward Chris Evans, and fell 73-59 to host Loyola Maryland in the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament on Sunday afternoon at Reitz Arena.

Kent State finished the season 21-14, winning 10 of its last 14 games after an 11-10 start. The Greyhounds improved to 23-11 and will visit East Carolina in the quarterfinals of the CIT on Tuesday.

Evans and fellow senior Randal Holt each finished with 13 points, but neither could find the range from the floor.

Evans, playing with an ankle injury sustained the Golden Flashes' regular season-ending victory at Akron, shot 5-of-29 from the field in his last three games. He still managed to play 31 minutes at Loyola Maryland, grabbing four rebounds and hitting all eight of his free-throw attempts.

Holt added another 3-pointer to his school-record total for the season, increasing the mark to 89, but shot just 1-of-6 from long range and 5-of-13 from the field on Sunday. Kent State was just 3-of-18 from 3 as a team.

Junior forward Darren Goodson scored 12 points for the Flashes on 5-of-9 shooting from the field, but was the only KSU player to shoot above 50 percent from the floor. Junior Bryson Pope added five points and a team-high seven rebounds off the bench.

Meanwhile, Greyhounds all-conference performers Erik Etherly and Dylon Cormier both had huge games. Etherly, a senior forward, scored a game-high 27 points thanks to a 17-of-19 effort from the foul line and grabbed 11 rebounds, while Cormier added 18 points off the bench.

"It was just a tough night for us overall," said KSU coach Rob Senderoff "We didn't shoot the ball very well, and Etherly and Cormier for Loyola were really good. We had a tough time with both of them."

The Flashes never led, and fell behind 13-4 after an early 9-0 run by the Greyhounds. A dunk by KSU freshman forward Khaliq Spicer trimmed the deficit to 24-21, but Loyola Maryland pushed the advantage to 31-25 at halftime.

A 3-pointer by Robert Olson gave the Greyhounds a 36-26 lead early in the second half, and Kent State was never able to mount a serious rally. A pair of Evans free throws made it 50-43 with 10:47 remaining, but that was as close as the Flashes would get.

Despite returning just one starter and two of their top eight scorers from last year, Kent State managed to match last season's win total and became just the sixth team in school history to earn a postseason victory with its first-round CIT home triumph over Fairfield last Wednesday.

"Overall, I'm really proud of the effort of our guys this season," said Senderoff. "The seniors did a great job. Chris' work ethic, Randal's competitiveness and Brian Frank's commitment to the group are all things future players here and returning players can emulate. I'm disappointed it ended for our seniors, but they all have bright futures ahead of them.

"Our players who are coming back have to continue to get better and work."

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