Winning half a game at Ohio U

The expected and unexpected in Kent State’s 58-44 loss at Ohio University Saturday:

EXPECTED: Ohio won. The Bobcats are two games ahead of the pack in the MAC. They’re now 18-3, 9-1 in the league. Kent State is the reverse — 3-18, 1-9.

UNEXPECTED: Kent State led 25-23 at halftime. I don’t think anyone saw that coming. It was a combination of bad shooting by Ohio and good defense by Kent State. OU made only 26 percent of its first-half field goal attempts, including only 4 of 18 three-pointers. The Bobcats lead the MAC in three-point field goal percentage (36).

EXPECTED: Ohio’s Kiyanna Black would make her share of three-pointers. She leads the MAC and is ninth in the nation with an average of 3.1 per game. She made six, including four in a row between 6:49 and 4:56 of the second half. Those baskets took a 43-37 game to 55-37.

UNEXPECTED: Kent’s Larissa Lurken fell back into her slump, making only 2 of 10 shots (2 of 9 three-pointers).

EXPECTED: Cici Shannon had double digit rebounds again — her eighth game in a row. She had 12 rebounds, 10 points, three blocks and two assists.

UNEXPECTED: Redshirt junior Melanee Stubbs has settled in as one of KSU’s best scorers. She led the team with 12 points on six of seven shooting. (“Few people can guard her pull-up jumper,” coach Danny O’Banion said in her post-game radio interview.

EXPECTED: Freshman forward Jordan Korinek, who had averaged 13 points a game for six games before she was injured in Wednesday, didn’t play. O’Banion said she was optimistic Korinek would play against Miami Wednesday. Redshirt freshman McKenna Stephens started in her place.

UNEXPECTED: She didn’t start, but senior Mikell Chinn played 31 minutes at point guard. She didn’t take a shot (not unusual for her) but had five assists, two steals and five rebounds (from 5-foot-6). Starter Nadia Cross played only six minutes.

EXPECTED: Kent State made 25 turnovers, leading to 23 OU points. As has become distressingly consistent this season, the points off turnovers were greater than Kent State’s margin of defense. OU made 13 turnovers, but Kent State just nine points from them. The turnovers meant that OU got eight more shots than Kent State.

UNEXPECTED: Senior forward Montia Johnson saw her first action since before the conference season. She played only two minutes, but O’Banion said she expected her to make a significant contribution for the rest of the season. Johnson can be wildly inconsistent, but she was the Flashes’ leading scorer a year ago and can be a very good offensive rebounder. She suffered a concussion on the last play of Kent State’s last preseason game.

EXPECTED: It’s nice to say Kent State made 45 percent of its shots, the third time KSU’s been over 45 percent against first-division teams. (It also shot well against Central Michigan and Akron.) Ohio leads the conference in field goal percentage defense.

Sadly, it’s also expected that Kent State wasn’t effective in three-point shooting — just 2 of 10.

UNEXPECTED: Though Kent State is a taller team, Ohio outscored the Flashes in the paint 12-4 and outscored them 9-4 on second-chance points. Kent State out rebounded Ohio 34-28. Kent State scored most of its points on midrange jump shots.

When the Flashes host Miami  Wednesday, they’ll play the only team in the MAC with a worse record. The Redhawks are 0-10 in the conference, 3-18 overall. Their scheduled game against Eastern Michigan Saturday was postponed so Eastern players could attend the funeral of junior forward Shannise Heady, who died in an auto accident last month.

Saturday’s MAC results:

  • Northern Illinois (10-10, 6-4) 62, Akron (17-5, 7-4) 56, at Northern Illinois.
  •  Buffalo (13-8, 6-4 MAC) 66, Bowling Green (9-13, 2-9) 45, at Buffalo.
  • Ball State (11-10, 7-3) 69, Toledo (12-9, 5-5) 61, at Toledo.
  • Western Michigan (15-7, 8-3) 69, Central Michigan (11-10, 6-4) 64, at Western Michigan.

Full KSU box score here. MAC standings here.


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