A disappointing home opener

I tried to post a short story from my iPhone right after the game. It obviously didn’t take. Sorry.

I never would have guess that Kent State would lose to Youngstown State by 19 points, 68-49. YSU was 15-16 last year.

But I never would have guessed that Kent center Cici Shannon would have two points and that starting forward Jordan Korinek would have four.

Coach Danny O’Banion said after the game that Youngstown State was better at being Youngstown State than Kent State was at being Kent State.

YSU likes to score a lot of points and shoot a lot of three-point shots. It did, hitting 10 of 26 three pointers. The Penguins stuck with the three pointer even after 4 of 15 in the first half.

Kent State’s best scorers are inside players. Shannon, who had 17 points in Kent’s opener, went 1 for 8. Korinek, who had 23 points in Kent’s exhibition, went 2 for 8. Youngstown packed the inside against the Flashes. But Kent missed a ton of inside shots. (“We got about any shot we wanted,” O’Banion said. “We just didn’t make them.”)

Kent’s other post player, Montia Johnson, went 5 for 5 in the first half. But she took only two shots in the second half.

Kent State played miserably in the second half. The Flashes shot only 25 percent and were outscored 16-5 in the first seven minutes of the half. Youngstown even outscored Kent in the paint, 16-9 and had 12 second-chance points to Kent’s 3.

“We’re a young team that got frustrated” when shots didn’t drop, O’Banion said, “and therefore didn’t play good defense.”

Later, though, O’Banion acknowledged that Kent wasn’t all that young. Shannon, Johnson, and guards Mikell Chinn, Krista White and Larissa Lurken all started at least some games last year. YSU had three returning starters and just five returning players.

Other impressions:

  • As most games are, this one was about shooting. Kent shot 40 percent in the first half and led by four points with three-and a-half minutes to go in the half. Then it missed four of its last five shots and YSU led 31-27 at the half.
  • Kent 4 of 11 three-point shots. Two were in the last minutes.
  • White and Lurken led Kent with 11 points each. White took the most shots on the team — 12. O’Banion said YSU was, at times, just not guarding Kent’s guards (not counting Lurken, who’s a wing), in order to collapse on the post. The coach said that White had to take many of those shots in that circumstance, but she could have been more patient.
  • Lurken took six of Kent’s three-pointers, making three. She’s being guarded closely as Kent’s only proven three-point threat. Back-up point guard Naddiyah made Kent State’s first three-pointer not by Lurken this season, a line drive with three minutes to go.
  • Cross, who played 15 minutes, led the Flashes with six assists. Chinn and Korinek each had three. Kent had 16 assists on 19 baskets, including 12 out of 12 in the first half.
  • After having 27 turnovers in its first game, Kent State had only 11. (YSU actually had more — 13.)
  • Every Kent player who got into the game played at least 12 minutes. O’Banion tried about every possible combination, including four guards. None of it worked in the second half.
  • O’Banion said that every team will try to stop Kent’s inside game this season. Kent’s post players have to find a way to score, and it has to find some outside shooters.

Box score

KSU sports site story.


One comment

  1. goldenflash101

    Last night I saw a team that wants to play pressure defense not do it very well.
    I saw a team that wants to go inside not finish when they did (I’ll give the freshman a pass for 10 games).
    I saw two point guards that can’t shoot or drive and therefore have trouble making things happen.
    I saw two shooting guards who have no outside shot.
    I saw two 3’s that can shoot but because of the above will probably never be open.
    I remember when every recruiting class added a player or two that were pretty good. It doesn’t happen too much anymore.
    Is it the coach or is it the Kent reputation and facilities that chase them away? All but a few of these players are already known quantities so where is the improvement coming from this year? It’s gotta be Korinek, Mc Kenna or Ridout or it’s probably not happening. I hope I am totally wrong because a fourth year of terrible basketball will be hard to take.


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