The statistic we worried about most in Kent State’s game at MAC East leader Buffalo actually wasn’t bad at all.
KSU committed just 14 turnovers against the Bulls, who force an average of 23 per game. That’s eighth in the country.
But the Flashes lost the game in about every other way possible in an 80-42 rout. It was Kent State’s worst defeat of the season.
The Flashes made just 21 percent of their shots, their lowest percentage in at least five years. That time includes some of the team’s worst records in the last three decades.
KSU’s record drops to 4-8 in the conference. The eight defeats are three more than the Flashes lost in the MAC all last season in their run to an unexpected East Division title. Kent State is tied for ninth in the overall MAC standings, a game and a half away from eighth and the final spot to host a home game in the league tournament.
“We knew this was a good Buffalo team and it was going to be a tall task,” Starkey said in his postgame radio interview on Golden Flash iHeart Radio. “But I don’t care what anyone says; they’re not 38 points better than we are.
“There’s two parts to this: We have to compete at a higher level, and I have to coach better. The things we’re doing every day in practice simply aren’t translating into games.
“At some point, we’re going to break loose from our inconsistent play. So when we get back to the M.A.C. Center tomorrow, we’re going to have another spirited practice and get ready for Ohio on Saturday.”
Starkey couldn’t explain the poor shooting, almost 18 percentage points below KSU’s average. But he said it affected everything else in the game.
“Some players get so down on missed shots that it affects what’s going on last the other end of the court,” Starkey said.
Kent’s Jordan Korinek, the MAC’s second leading scorer, hit her conference average of 22 points. But no other KSU player scored more than five.
Korinek picked up two early fouls and sat out much of the first quarter. But when KSU fell behind 25-9 after the quarter, Starkey put her back in and she scored 10 points in the second quarter. But she was an uncharacteristic six for 15 from the field (she averages about 50 percent) and missed four free throws (she had made 31 of her last 33).
Buffalo had four players in double figures, led by center Cassie Oursler’s 19 points and 14 rebounds — in just 18 minutes. Point guard Stephanie Reid had nine assists, including her career 600th, in 25 minutes.
Every person on Buffalo’s roster played at least eight minutes.
Kent State also played everyone on its bench.
“I did not come to Kent State to play this type of basketball,” Starkey said. “We’re going to get it fixed. That’s for sure.”
- Buffalo outrebounded KSU, which had led the MAC in rebounding margin, 51-39. Alexa Golden had 10 rebounds for KSU, the third double-digit rebounding game for the 5-9 junior guard this season.
- The Bulls outscored the Flashes in the paint 40-20 and 12-0 on fast-break points. They had 21 assists on 30 baskets. Kent State had five assists.
- Buffalo leads the MAC in steals, but Kent State had nine on Wednesday to the Bulls’ five. Buffalo outscored KSU off turnovers 13-10.
Kent State is home Saturday to play Ohio at 2 p.m. The Bobcats are third in the MAC East at 6-5 (12-10 overall) and lost to first-place Central Michigan (10-0, 19-3) by just 74-72 in Athens Wednesday.
Other MAC scores
- Miami (7-5, 15-8) 67, Toledo (6-6, 15-9) 58 at Miami.
- Northern Illinois (4-8, 12-11) 84, Akron (1-11, 7-16) 61 at Akron.
- Western Michigan (7-5, 14-10) 81, Bowling Green (2-10, 10-13) 67 at BG.
- Ball State (8-4, 19-4) 91, Eastern Michigan (5-6, 9-13) 85 at Ball State.
MORE TO COME