A great win at the buzzer

If you’ve ever wondered about the referees looking, looking, looking at the monitor to figure out tenths of a second on the clock…

It made all the difference in the world for Kent State Saturday.

The clock originally said 0.2 seconds to go with the Flashes and Northern Illinois tied at 52. Then the refs spent long minutes looking to see when exactly the ball went out of bounds next to the Kent State basket.

Finally they decided it with 0.8 seconds.

That’s a huge difference. The rule is that if there’s 0.6 seconds or less, a team can only score on a tip — something that’s next to impossible. But with more, you can get a shot off.

And junior guard Melanee Stubbs caught the ball three feet in front of the basket and shot in midair for KSU’s 54-52 victory. (There’s great video of the play on Instagram here)

Stubbs was wide open and credited a great screen from Kent State senior point guard Mikell Chinn. Stubbs called the feeling “awesome” in a quick postgame interview on Golden Flash iHeart Radio.

The long minutes while the referees looked at the monitor gave Kent State — out of timeouts — a chance to draw up the play — actually two plays. If time had been less, the ball would have gone to 6-4 center Cici Shannon, hoping for a foul on a tip. Instead, coach Danny O’Banion drew up the play designed for Stubbs.

“We’ve been talking all year about Mel’s athleticism,” O’Banion said.

Chinn, who missed almost two months of the season with a concussion she suffered at Thanksgiving, played one of her best games. She made six of six foul shots in the second half, twice giving Kent State the lead in the last minute. But some of her biggest plays were on defene. Twice in the first half, Chinn, who is listed at a generous 5-foot-6, blocked shots by Amanda Corral, Northern Illinois’ best player.

Kent State held Corral, who averages 16 points a game, scoreless in the first half and took at 22-17 lead. Despite hard defense by four different KSU players, Corral scored 17 points in the second half, though she missed a foul shot with seven seconds to go that would have given NIU the lead.

Kent State’s game plan was similar to what it tried at Northern Illinois when it lost 66-49 in January. The Flashes tried to force Northern — not a good shooting team — to score from the outside. They wanted their larger, more experienced post players to score and beat the Huskies in rebounding.

In the first half, it was almost perfect. NIU shot only 21 percent. Kent State outrebounded the Huskies 24-8 and its post players scored 17 of KSU’s 22 points.

For the game, KSU outscored the Huskies 24-12 in the paint and an amazing 17-0 on second-chance points. It outrebounded Northern 38-19, with Shannon having her eighth double-digit rebounding game in nine games with 11. She also had 11 points .

Freshman forward Jordan Korinek had 10 points. Senior forward Montia Johnson, who was out with a concussion the first time Kent State played Northern, had 9 and Stubbs 8.

Notes:

  • Kent State is now 2-10 in the MAC, 4-19 overall. NIU is 6-6 in the league, 10-12 overall.
  • Northern shot 57 percent in the second half, with Corral making five of seven shots. Kent State shot 44 percent in the first half, 39 in the second.
  • Kent State made 12 of 15 free throws — way above its season average of 59 percent.
  • KSU had 18 tunovers, leading to 16 Northern points. But the Flashes had onl five turnovers in the second half. NIU, which commits the fewest turnovers in the MAC, had seven, leading to five Kent State points.

The Flashes travel to Buffalo Wednesday to play the 14-9 Bulls, who beat MAC West leader Western Michigan at Western 54-44 Saturday.

Other Saturday MAC scores:

  • Ohio (20-3, 11-1 67, Miami (4-19, 1-10) 45, at Miami.
  • Akron (19-5, 9-4) 82, Toledo (13-10, 6-6) 56, at Akron.
  • Eastern Michigan (12-10, 5-6) 85, Central Michigan (11-12, 6-6) 64, at Eastern.
  • Ball State (13-10, 9-3) 77, Bowling Green (9-15, 2-11) 52, at Ball State.

Full Kent State box score here. MAC standings here.

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