Two games in a row Kent State has had a chance to reach overtime with a long three-point shot at the buzzer.
Two games in a row the shots — both by redshirt freshman Tyra James — have bounced off the rim.
You certainly can’t blame the loss on James’ shot. It was 22 feet away, low percentage at best.
It was things early in the game — eight fouls in the first quarter, 10 turnovers on the first half, and 1-for-17 three-point shooting for the game — that kept KSU on the losing end of a a 67-64 score to Toledo.
The Flashes are now 4-17 on the season, 1-10 in the MAC. Toledo is 12-, 7-3 in the conference.
There was a lot of good in the game against one of the better teams in the conference. KSU came from eight points down at halftime to tie the game 49-49 at the end of the third quarter. They stayed within four points of Toledo most of the fourth quarter, and if a Jordan Korinek layup hand’t rolled off the rim with 1:03 the go, it might have been different.
After Korinek’s miss, KSU was forced to foul, and Toledo’s Brenae Harris made two fouls shots. The Flashes got within 65-64 when Larissa Lurken snatched an airball from McKenna Stephens and threw it in and converted a three-point play.
But Harris made two more foul shots, and James’ last-second shot didn’t go in.
“The biggest difference (between the two halves) was that players committed themselves to the board,” coach Danny O’Banion said after the game, “and we took better care of the basketball.”
KSU outrebounded Toledo 20-15 in the second half and outscored them 17-10 on second-chance points. The Flashes held their turnovers to six in the second half.
Led by Korinek, the Flashes outscored Toledo 42-16 in the paint.
The Rockets won the game at the foul line — where they were 17 of 20 — and on three-pointers. Their three-point percentage wasn’t great — 29.6 percent — but they made eight when KSU could hit just one.
Kent State jumped to a 9-0 lead, but Toledo came back, mostly on nine straight free throws. Fouls put Korinek, Kent’s leading scorer, in trouble in for most of the last three quarters.
Still, the 6-2 sophomore scored 23 points on 9 of 13 shooting and 5 of 6 foul shots. She had seven rebounds in 29 minutes.
“I’m very proud of Jordan,” O’Banion said. “That was about as much adversity as she’s had in fouls this season, and she stayed aggressive and engaged. She showed more patience and was effective in the point (when she had four fouls).”
- Lurken had 13 points and six rebounds. She was 5 of 15 from the field and 1 of 7 from three-point distance. She had six turnovers.
- Walk-on freshman Paige Salisbury started her fourth straight game — all among KSU’s best performances of the year. She had four points, two assists and equaled her season high in turnovers — all of two —in 34 minutes. The 19 points Toledo scored off turnovers had little to do with her.
- Sophomore McKenna Stephens had perhaps her best game as a Kent State player. She scored 12 points on 6 of 11 shooting and led the team with eight rebounds. She had two assists and a block in a career-high 33 minutes.
- The Flashes got a good six minutes out of 6-4 freshman Merissa Barber-Smith, who scored four points on 2 of 2 shooting and blocked a shot.
- After playing a man-to-man defense for most of the game at Miami Wednesday, KSU returned to its match-up zone for most of the night. It was as effective as it’s been this year.
KSU has a week off before it hosts the MAC West’s best team, Ball State, next Saturday.
Other MAC scores:
- Akron (12-10, 6-5) 77, Miami (9-12, 3-7) 65, at Akron.
- Ohio (18-4, 10-1) 95, Northern Illinois (9-12, 2-8) 70, at Ohio.
- Ball State (16-5, 8-2) 59, Buffalo (11-10, 3-7) 57, at Buffalo.
- Central Michigan (15-7, 9-2) 76, Bowling Green (8-11, 4-5) 75, at Bowling Green.
- Eastern Michigan (14-8, 5-6) 70, Western Michigan (13-10, 5-6) 66, at Eastern.