What can we conclude from Kent State’s 69-56 loss to Ohio Wednesday:
- Ohio is a good team — obviously. The Bobcats are 24-4, 15-2 in the conference. They’re 12th in the latest Mid Major Top 25.
- Kent State is competitive. The Flashes lost to Ohio by 14 in Athens, 13 in Kent. But the Flashes — as much as they have improved — still have a way to go before they are a first-division team.
- Ohio sure can shoot three-point shots. They made nine against Kent — exactly their average, which is fourth in the nation.
- Even so, KSU can play pretty good defense. Ohio was only 9 of 28 — 32 percent. Overall, Ohio shot only 36 percent. Both figures are well below OU’s average.
- Ohio itself is a good defensive team. The Bobcats held Kent State to 33 percent shooting and just 2 of 10 from three-point distance. They lead the MAC in field goal percentage defense (both overall and on three-pointers.)
- Kent State continues to have turnover trouble. Worst in the MAC in turnovers, the Flashes had 26 more Wednesday, leading to 21 Ohio points. It was one more game that points off turnovers were greater than the margin of defeat.
- If point guard Mikell Chinn and leading scorer Larissa Lurken don’t play well, Kent State struggles. Chinn made six turnovers and fouled out. (She did have six assists.) Lurken was 3 of 17 shooting, 2 of 9 on three-pointers. Forward Jordan Korinek — Kent’s third leading scorer — also had a bad night, scoring only four points on two of eight shooting. She had been fourth in the conference in field goal percentage.
- Cici Shannon is amazingly consistent. She had 11 points and 11 rebounds — her eighth double-double of the season and 13th game in which she’s had double digit rebounds.
- Senior forward Montia Johnson had her best game of the season, scoring 13 points and grabbing six rebounds in 11 minutes. Johnson, Kent’s leading scorer a year ago, missed almost six weeks with a concussion.
- Krista White is back. The guard had missed two games with a bad ankle but played 25 minutes Wednesday, scoring eight points. She did foul out.
- Ohio proved it could win when star guard Kiyanna Black has a bad night. Black, OU’s leading scorer and fifth in the nation in three-pointers per game, made just 3 of 15 shots (2 of 9 three-pointers).
- OU’s Jasmine Witherspoon scored only one point but had a major impact on the game. She had 12 rebounds and guarded Shannon much of the time. The Kent State center got off only five shots.
- And if your opponent makes its first two three-point shots of a half — as Ohio did in the second half — and you turn the ball over the first two times in the half — as Kent State did, it’s hard to win. Ohio extended its seven-point halftime lead to 13 and it was never closer.
Kent State is now 5-23, 3-14 in the MAC. They play their final regular season game Saturday against Buffalo, which beat Bowling Green 55-47 at Bowling Green Wednesday. The Bulls are 17-11, 10-7 in the MAC. Kent lost at Buffalo by only two points in February. Saturday’s game is Senior Day and is at 2 p.m. in the MAC Center.
Other MAC scores from Wednesday:
- Ball State (16-12, 12-5) 85, Central Michigan (12-16, 7-10) 59, at Central. It was announced earlier Wednesday that Crystal Bradford, the MAC’s leading scorer and last season’s player of the year, was out for the season with a knee injury.
- Northern Illinois (12-15, 8-9) 68, Toledo (17-11, 10-7) 64, at Northern.
- Eastern Michigan (17-11, 10-7) 74, Western Michigan (17-11, 10-7) 65, at Eastern.
- Akron (21-7, 11-6) 67, Miami (7-21, 4-13) 55, at Akron.
If the MAC tournament were today, Kent State would travel to Buffalo for its first game. But the Bulls are tied with three other teams with 10-7 records, so that could change Saturday. Ohio has clinched the top seed, Ball State the No. 2.