Who could have imagined that Buffalo would beat Kent State on three-point shooting?
The Bulls came into Saturday’s game at Kent shooting just 26.4 percent on three-pointers, worst in the MAC. They averaged just 5.4 a game,
But they made 11 of 22 against the Flashes on their way to a 77-66 victory.
Kent State is now 3-10 on the season, 0-3 in the MAC. Buffalo is 10-4, 2-1 in the conference.
The Bulls came into the game with the league’s best defense — allowng just 55.7 points a game — and worst offense — averaging 55.9.
The 76 points was the most they have scored this season. Kent’s 66 was the fourth highest a team has scored against Buffalo, and the three teams that scored more have a combined record of 34-6.
“We challenged them to make three-pointers, shots they don’t traditionally make,” coach Danny O’Banion said in her postgame radio interview. “Sometimes it’s pick your poison.”
The Flashes tried to adjust, playing an old-fashioned box-and-one defense to guard Buffalo’s Joanna Smith. At least three different players guarded her, but she made 7 of 10 three-point shots. Smith had been averaging 32.7 percent and 2.5 three-pointers a game.
Buffalo also scored 35 points off 19 Kent State turnovers. The Flashes forced 20 but scored only 17 points off of them. The Bulls had 13 offensive rebounds and 10 second-chance points.
“We just gave away too many possessions,” O’Banion said.
The Flashes overpowered Buffalo 24-13 in the first quarter on 8 of 15 shooting and 4 of 8 three-pointers. Larissa Lurken had 13 points in the quarter.
But Kent played as badly in the second 10 minutes as it did well in the first. The Flashes were 1 of 10 in the quarter and were outscored 17-5.
Leading scorer Jordan Korinek also went to the bench with two fouls, as she has for four games in a row. Lurken, Alexa Golden and Chelsi Watson also had two fouls.
But Buffalo had its foul problems. Starting center Cassie Oursler had two fouls in three minutes. Top reserve Brittany Morrison had three fouls in the first half. Oursler played only seven minutes before fouling out.
Lurken and Golden fouled out late in the fourth quarter for the Flashes.
Lurken finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. Korinek had 17 on 5 of 8 shooting and 9 of 11 foul shots. Tyra James had 13 points, six assists and six rebounds, continuing her good conference play after a rough December.
“It’s fun to see Tyra find her rhythm,” O’Banion said.
But besides James, KSU got just six points from its bench, despite playing 10 players.
“At the end, we just didn’t have the right pieces,” O’Banion said.
- Neither team shot free throws well. Kent State was 15 of 27, Buffalo 18 of 31.
- Lurken had 13 of her 17 points in the first quarter.
- Buffalo had five three-pointers in the fourth quarter. Each one came directly after a Kent State two-point basket.
- For the game, Kent State shot 40.7 percent from the field (30.4 percent on three-pointers). Both figures are slightly above its average. Buffalo shot 43.6 and 50 percent, both substantially above its average.
- Buffalo outrebounded the Flashes 40-32 and 24-11 in the second half.
- KSU had nine steals, its most in four games. Chelsi Watson and McKenna Stephens each had three.
The Flashes travel to Western Michigan (9-6, 1-2) and Eastern Michigan (10-3, 1-1) next week. By their home game against defending champion Ohio on Jan. 20, they’ll have played four of their first five conference games on the road.
Other MAC scores:
- Central Michigan (8-6, 2-1) 97, Akron (7-7, 1-2) at Akron.
- Ball State (10-4, 2-1) 66, Miami (7-7, 1-2) 41 at Ball State.
- Toledo (7-7, 2-1) 80, Western Michigan (9-6, 1-2) 73 at Toledo.
- Ohio (11-3, 3-0) 72, Bowling Green (5-7, 1-2) 57 at Bowling Green.
- Eastern Michigan (11-3. 2-1) 87, at Northern Illinois (8-6, 1-2) 80 in overtime at Northern Illinois.