Kent State men's basketball improves performance, still fall in loss to Toledo

By Allen Moff | Staff Writer Published:

TOLEDO -- For the Kent State men's basketball team, about the only similarity between its efforts on Wednesday and Sunday was the result.

After suffering their most lopsided home loss in nearly 16 years last Wednesday against Western Michigan, the Golden Flashes bounced back with one of their best efforts of the season against Mid-American Conference juggernaut Toledo.

They shot better. They competed harder.

But they still lost.

The Rockets (17-2, 5-1 MAC) used a 6-0 run in the closing minutes to take control, then held on down the stretch to escape with an 81-78 victory over Kent State (11-8, 2-4) that improves their record at Savage Hall to 10-0.

Flashes junior point guard Kris Brewer had a chance to tie the game, but his desperation 3-pointer from about 25 feet was not close - and thus a great effort was wasted, at least as far as wins and losses are concerned.

"Tonight was a great game," said KSU coach Rob Senderoff. "Unfortunately, there were a couple plays down the stretch that we needed to make and were unable to make. I'm proud of our guys with how hard we competed. Toledo is a very good team."

The game was lost at the line for the Flashes. Toledo made 27-of-39 free throws while Kent State hit just 9-of-14 charity tosses. Senior forwards Darren Goodson and Mark Henniger both fouled out as the Flashes were whistled for 29 fouls compared to just 15 for the Rockets.

"We did the best we could to keep them out of the lane," said Senderoff. "I thought we did a good job of that, but obviously fouled a little too much."

Goodson finished with 17 points, six rebounds and four assists to lead Kent State, while junior guard Derek Jackson scored 16 points and Brewer added 14 points and seven assists.

Senderoff said on Friday that he planned to make lineup changes after his Flashes shot 32 percent from the field and 56 percent from the line in an ugly 75-59 home loss to the Broncos on Wednesday. He delivered, as sophomore guard Kellon Thomas and sophomore forward Khaliq Spicer (8 points, 4 blocks) started in place of junior Devareaux Manley and senior Mark Henniger.

"I'm going to continue with that and see how these guys continue to compete," said Senderoff. "Khaliq had four blocked shots tonight and I thought he played really well."

The new lineup produced, as the Flashes played on even terms with Toledo early on.

The Rockets went on a 9-0 run late in the first half to take a 33-26 lead, but Kent State fought right back behind Goodson. The senior from Cincinnati scored 12 of KSU's final 16 points in the opening 20 minutes, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer that brought the Flashes within 37-36 at the break.

Kent State took a 46-43 advantage after a 7-0 run that featured a 3-pointer and layup by sophomore reserve guard K.K. Simmons.

Goodson, Henniger and Jackson were all forced to the bench after picking up their fourth fouls with over nine minutes still remaining.

But Brewer rose to the occasion, hitting a jumper to put his team up 67-61 lead with 5:33 to play.

A pair of free throws by Justin Drummond tied the score at 68, but Jackson hit a jumper to put KSU back on top. Then Toledo reeled off six straight points to take control.

Jackson hit two 3-pointers in the final minute, and the last one with seven seconds left cut Toledo's lead to 80-78. Julius Brown was fouled and split a pair of free throws with four seconds to go, giving the Flashes life, but Brewer's heave at the buzzer was off the mark.

Drummond led four UT players in double figure with 15 points, while J.D. Weatherspoon and Brown (7 assists) scored 14 points each and Rian Pearson contributed 11 points and 10 boards.

Kent State returns to action on Wednesday, hosting Northern Illinois (7-11, 1-5).

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.