The Flashes didn’t do a whole lot well in Wednesday’s 60-49 loss to Cleveland State Wednesday, but to me, the telling statistic was this:
CSU had 60 shots. Kent State had 52. That’s actually closer than I thought; with seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Cleveland State had 16 more shots than the Flashes.
The difference came because of offensive rebounds — CSU had 17 — and turnovers — Kent State had 23. Cleveland State had 14 second-chance points, Kent State 10. The Vikings scored 23 points off turnovers, the Flashes 20.
“They got the 50-50 balls,” was how Kent State coach Danny O’Banion put it in her postgame radio interview.
The other key statistic was three-point baskets. Cleveland State had eight (though it took 30 shots); Kent State was 4 of 14 and 0 for 8 in the second half.
The Flashes struggled with Cleveland State’s zone defense, especially in the first half. They had trouble getting the ball inside to leading scorer Jordan Korinek, who had just four points on four shots in the half. Korinek did finish with 16 points on 8 of 11 shooting.
The key moments of the game were the last six seconds of the third quarter. Kent State, which had been down by 12, had pulled within three, 43-40. They forced a missed CSU shot as the shot clock expired.
O’Banion called timeout with 5.6 seconds left in the quarter, and Kent State tried to set up a play to get within a point or tie the game. But a pass to Tyra James at midcourt went off her hands. James tied up the CSU player, but the possession stayed with Cleveland State. And at the buzzer, CSU’s Khayla Livingston banked in a half-court shot to make it 46-40.
Kent State never got within five points after that.
- The 49 points were by far the fewest Kent State has scored this season. The Flashes had been averaging almost 71, with a low of 68 against Wright State and IPFW.
- Cleveland State outrebounded KSU 41-35. The Vikings had come into the game with a negative nine average in rebounding margin. KSU had a negative five margin. CSU’s line-up was no bigger than Kent’s.
- James and Larissa Lurken, Kent’s No. 2 and 3 scorers, struggled. Lurken was 3 for 13. After making two of her first three shots, she missed seven three-pointers. She finished with 12 points. James had 9 in the first half but didn’t score in the second. She was 4 of 11 shooting. “It will help Jordan when we get more out of them,” O’Banion said, “and that will come.”
- James had seven turnovers, point guard Naddiyah Cross five and Korinek five.
- Cross and starting forward Chelsi Watson, who had been averaging almost 10 points each, scored a total of three.
- James and back-up point guard Paige Salisbury had three steals each. Kent State, which leads the MAC in steals, had a total of 13, two more than Cleveland State, which leads the Horizon conference.
- Sophomore McKenna Stephens, one of only four returning players from last year’s team, saw her first action of the season after a knee injury. She played 11 minutes but didn’t score.
- Keziah Lewis had five points, including her first three-point basket. She scored more than 750 points in two years of junior college.
- Kent State led CSU 16-10 after a quarter, mostly because of four three-point baskets. But CSU dominated the second quarter 22-8 on the strength of six three-pointers.
- The Flashes, who had been averaging 22 foul shots a game, got only 12. They made nine.
Kent State finishes a four-game homestand Saturday against North Dakota State. It’s “Victor Day,” which celebrates people who have fought cancer. O’Banion was treated for lymphoma throughout last season and is in remission. Guest of honor at Saturday’s game will be Bonnie Beachy, Kent State’s all-time leading scorer (men and women) and only KSU woman to have had her jersey retired. Beachy is also a cancer survivor.
Link to kentstatesports.com story, which includes video highlights and O’Banion interview.