Kent State played a near-perfect first half at Buffalo, The Flashes were up by nine points at halftime. They were shooting 52 percent from the field. They outrebounded one of the best rebounding teams in the MAC. They had 13 assists on 14 baskets. They committed only six turnovers.
Buffalo pounded at Kent State on defense, on the boards and on the foul line in the second half to pull out a 59-57 victory.
It was a tough loss for Kent State, which had just won a two-point game at home Saturday with a shot at the buzzer against Northern Illinois.
The keys to the game were Buffalo’s second-half defense and offensive rebounding. The Bulls forced 17 second-half turnovers, leading to 20 points. After getting just three offensive rebounds in the first half, the Bulls got 12 in the second, leading to 11 second-chance points and, just as important, many more offensive possessions. In the second half, Buffalo had 29 shots to Kent State’s 18.
And the Bulls got to the foul line 27 times in the second half. If they hadn’t missed so often (they were just 11 out of 27), the game wouldn’t have been close.
“I’m encouraged by the guts our team is showing,” coach Danny O’Banion said in her postgame radio interview. “The rebounds are frustrating — to give up that many second and third opportunities…”
Announcer Dave Wilson asked O’Banion what she would tell the team in the locker room.
“Rebounding,” the coach said. “We knew that from the outset.
“And I’ll definitely, definitely let them know that Buffalo comes back to our place for the last game of the season.”
- Kent State is 4-20 on the season, 2-11 in the MAC. Buffalo is 15-9, 8-5 in the conference.
- Cici Shannon led Kent State with 13 points and 10 rebounds. It was her fifth double-double of the season and eighth game in the last nine with double-digit rebounds. She also blocked two shots. She also got into foul trouble in the second half and played just 11 minutes in the half.
- Buffalo’s plan to force second-half fouls got Kent State into all kinds of foul trouble. Point guard Mikell Chinn fouled out in the last minute. Shannon, forward Jordan Korinek and guard Krista White all had four fouls. Forward Montia Johnson and guard Larissa Lurken each had three. Every other player had two.
- Chinn had seven assists and three steals.
- Korinek had 10 points in 22 minutes. Forward Mckenna Stephens had eight points in 18. White also had eight points and four assists.
- For the game, Kent State had 19 assists on 22 baskets.
- Buffalo reseerve guard Karin Moss had seven steals, six in the second half, and five assists in a total of 17 minutes.
- Kent State held Kristen Sharkey, the third-leading scorer in the MAC to nine points. Mackenzie Loesing led the Bulls with 9 points.
- The Flashes outscored Buffalo in the paint, 30-20. It was 20-4 in the first half.
- Kent State led by as many 13 points in the first half. I think that’s the Flashes’ largest lead of the season.
The Flashes play at Bowling Green at 5 p.m. Saturday. Kent State beat the Falcons, who have had major injury problems this season, 55-48 in Kent on Jan. 10. Like Kent, Bowling Green is 2-11 in the MAC and is 9-15 overall. The Falcons didn’t play Wednesday.
Other MAC scores:
- Eastern Michigan (14-10, 7-6 MAC) 73, Ohio (20-4, 11-2) 61, at Ohio.
- Ball State (14-10, 10-3) 73, Central Michigan (11-13, 6-7) 64, at Ball State.
- Toledo (14-10, 7-6) 73, Northern Illinois (10-13, 6-7) 57, at Toledo.
- Eastern Michigan 54, Miami (4-20, 1-12) 51, at Miami. (Tuesday game)