Kent State did so many things well at Cleveland State Sunday.
It shot 48 percent, equalling its best of the season.
It executed its game plan of getting the ball inside to its taller post players perfectly, with Cici Shannnon, Jordan Korinek and Montia Johnson combining for 33 points.
It outrebounded the Vikings by nine and outscored them by 14 in the paint.
It came from 11 points behind to take an eight-point lead.
It held Cleveland State 8 percentage points below its shooting average.
But it lost the last two minutes as the Flashes made four late turnovers and Cleveland State scored the game’s last seven points. The final score with 69-67.
“We missed Mikell (Chinn) today when Naddiyah (Cross) fouled out,” coach Danny O’Banion said in her post-game interview on Golden Flash iHeart Radio. “They pressed, they turned us over, and that’s how they won.”
Chinn, KSU’s usual starting point guard, missed her second straight game with a concussion. Cross played 32 minutes and had six points, eight assists, three rebounds and four turnovers. She fouled out with 1:51 to go. When she wasn’t in the game, guard Krista White ran the point. As far as I know, White had never played point guard in a game in college or high school before KSU’s game at Duquesne Wednesday.
Besides those last two minutes, some old problems haunted KSU.
“We’re going to look back and really kick ourselves over missed free throws and lay-ups,” O’Banion said.
The Flashes made 10 of 20 free throws. They’re shooting only 57 percent for the season, worst in the MAC.
Cleveland State made 22 of its 35 foul shots. The percentage isn’t great, but that’s a lot of foul shots. KSU fouled 28 times, 11 more than the Vikings. For the season, Kent’s opponents are shooting 11 more foul shots per game and making a higher percentage.
Other points of note:
- Korinek, an all-state player who averaged a double-double at St. Vincent St. Mary, scored 13 points on six of seven shooting and made her first three-point shot of the season. O’Banion said Korinek was a good three-point shooter in high school and that the team wanted her to shoot more. Korinek played just 20 minutes, as she was in foul trouble most of the game, especially in the first half.
- Kent State had 17 assists (on 26 baskets). Cleveland State, which leads the Horizon League in assists with 17.1, had only nine.
- Despite KSU’s rebounding advantage, Cleveland State outscored the Flashes 15-6 in second-chance points, including two crucial ones in the last minute.
- Kent State had 16 turnovers. That’s better than average for the Flashes, but the turnovers led to 26 Cleveland State points.
- Larissa Lurken, KSU’s second leading scored, had 12 points on four three-point shots. But she missed six other three-pointers and all eight of her two-point shots. She’s shooting 31.8 percent on the season (32.2 percent on three-pointers). She’s struggled terribly since she scored a career-high 20 against Belmont.
- Krista White, who had scored 20 points in the previous two games, scored just 4. She took five shots, but the game plan was to go inside to Shannon, Korinek and Johnson.
- Kent State is off for final exams until a home game against Arkansas State on Wednesday, Dec. 17. It’s KSU’s last home game until conference season starts in January.