Kent State scored the first basket 32 seconds into its game with Minnesota Thursday.
Then Minnesota scored the next 24 points and went on to beat the Flashes 92-62 in KSU’s last non-conference game of the season.
The Flashes will go into MAC play on New Year’s Eve with a 6-6 record, their best out-of-league performance since 2010.
Minnesota is 9-4.
It’s the second 30-point loss this week against Big Ten teams for Kent State, which lost at Iowa 83-48 on Tuesday. The 92 points is the most the Flashes have allowed this season, though the 62 points they scored were the most they had scored against the three power conference teams they have played. KSU lost to No. 3 Baylor 84-42 in the Gulf Coast Showcase at Thanksgiving.
The Flashes went 0 for 19 after making that first shot in the first quarter. For the game, they were 23 of 79 or 27.8 percent. That’s slightly better than the 24.7 percent they shot at Iowa. Take away the first quarter and they were 22 of 59 for 37.3 percent, which is about their season average.
For the second straight game, Kent State actually took more shots than their Big Ten opponent — 79 to 71. But they missed 22 more.
Redshirt freshman point guard Megan Carter, playing the most minutes of her career because of foul trouble for starter Naddiyah Cross, led the Flashes with 13 points. In 24 minutes, she made 3 of 12 shots, 7 for 10 free throws and had six assists and a steal. She also had four turnovers.
McKenna Stephens had 12 points and Alexa Golden and Jordan Korinek 9.
Larissa Lurken, who went in the game averaging 22.7 points a game, had 8, her second lowest total of the year (lowest was 5 against Detroit Mercy). She did have 8 rebounds in a return to her home state.
Golden had a career-high 10 rebounds to go with four assists and two steals. Korinek had 9 rebounds to equal her high for the season. Kent State had a season-high 50 rebounds, the same as Minnesota, including 22 offensive rebounds. Previous high was 48 against Iowa. KSU got only 13 points from those offensive rebounds, though. Minnesota also had 50 rebounds.
There were times during the game that the Flashes played Minnesota fairly evenly. KSU outscored the Gophers 22-20 in the second quarter, but the Gophers went on a 16-0 run over two-and-a-half minutes in the middle of the third quarter to take a 34-point lead.
- Kent State was 1 of 16 from three-point distance. Against Iowa, the Flashes were 5 of 28. The road trip knocked down their season three-point average from 36.4 percent to 31.0. The two Big Ten losses also reduced their overall field goal percentage from 41.0 to 37.7.
- Minnesota made 36 of 71 shots for 51 percent, including 8 of 19 three-pointers.
- Lurken didn’t make a three-point basket for the first time this season. She was 2 of 15 overall. At Iowa, she was 7 of 27.
- Minnesota outscored KSU 24-2 in fast break points. In his pregame interview, coach Todd Starkey said he was worried about the Gophers’ transition game.
- Merissa Barber-Smith, the 6-4 sophomore, had season highs in points (4), minutes (12), blocks (2) and equaled her high in offensive rebounds (4).
- Minnesota had five players in double figures, led by Kenisha Bell’s 20 points, seven assists, four steals and two blocks.
- The Gophers outscored KSU off turnovers 28-12 and in the paint 46-18.
- Starkey skipped his postgame radio interview for the second game in a row.
- Minnesota coach Marlene Stollings on the first quarter: “I thought we were very locked into the scout in the first quarter. They ran exactly what we had prepared for, and I thought we reacted, got to the right spots and made those spots tough. For the most part, they got rattled pretty quickly because the looks weren’t clean.”
- KSU players and coaches had dinner Wednesday at the Lurken family home in suburban Cottage Grove.
The Flashes now break for Christmas. They’ll return to campus next week to prepare for their MAC opener, which is against 8-3 Central Michigan at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, at the M.A.C. Center.
In the only other MAC game Thursday, Ohio (9-1) won its game over a Big Ten opponent, beating Illinois (5-8) 80-68 in Athens.
Game story from Kent State website, including links to season statistics, record/schedule and roster.
Game story from Minnesota website.