Mariah Modkins started her second straight game and third of the season. She scored four points. (File photo by Austin Mariasy.)
Three days ago, Kent State hit its high point of the season with a 67-58 win over first-place Miami.
Saturday, it hit its low with a 62-49 loss at last-place Bowling Green.
The Flashes shot terribly from every spot on the court — 27 percent on all field goals, 20 percent on 3-point shots and a season-low 41 percent on free throws. Counting free-throw attempts, KSU missed a total of 59 shots.
“You’re not going to beat many people scoring 49 points,” assistant coach Mike McKee told broadcaster David Wilson on Golden Flash iHeart Radio. “It kind of makes me sick looking at these shooting percentages up and down the stat sheet. You’ve got 2-for-12, 3-for-11, 4-for-13, 3-for-17.
“We weren’t doing well from the jump (at the beginning of the game). We didn’t do some game plan stuff we went over for a few days. We weren’t completely focused.”
The loss practically eliminated any chance that Kent State will get a first-round bye in the MAC Tournament, which starts in nine days. Buffalo pounded first-place Miami 86-61 in Buffalo Saturday to move two games ahead of KSU in the standings with two games to play.
It might be possible, under the MAC’s complicated tie-breaking system, for Kent to slip by if the Flashes won their last two games and Bulls lost their last two. Buffalo plays BG at home Wednesday while Kent State plays at Akron. The two teams meet in Kent next Saturday. (I’m not confident enough in my understanding of the MAC rules to say definitively.)
Kent State drops into a tie for sixth place in the MAC. Toledo beat Northern Illinois 64-53 in Toledo to take possession of fifth. The Rockets, Huskies and Flashes had been tied.
KSU is 9-7 in MAC and 16-11 overall. Bowling Green is 2-14 and 8-19.
Aside from a few runs, Kent State played equally badly all four quarters. The Flashes shot under 32 percent in every one.
Before this game, Bowling Green had not shown a great defense. The Falcons were last in the conference in field-goal defense; opponents were making 48 percent of their shots. But Kent State’s shooting percentage also is last in the MAC at 38 percent.
The Flashes’ fourth quarter was a horrible struggle. KSU missed all seven of its 3-point shots and made only 3-of-14 shots overall.
The Flashes were making 74 percent of their free throws going into the game. They went 1-of-9 in the last quarter. Asiah Dingle is the sixth best foul shooter in the MAC; Megan Carter is eighth. They combined to miss KSU’s last six free throws.
Coach Todd Starkey was subdued when reached on the bus on the way back to Kent.
“It’s been the same over the season,” Starkey said. “It’s consistency. As I said on Wednesday, the team just has not been able to sustain effort through the game except for Wednesday against Miami.”
The coach paused for a moment.
“No, it’s not effort,” he said. “I thought at times they played really hard today. But we didn’t finish plays, knock down shots, missed free throws, missed layups.”
The only Kent players who made even a third of their shots were Lindsey Thall (2 of 6), Hannah Young (2 of 3), Merissa-Barber Smith (1 of 2) and Mariah Modkins (1 of 3). Megan Carter, who had been ninth in the MAC in shooting percentage at 41 percent, was 3 of 17.
So now what?
“You go to practice and get better,” Starkey said. “There are still games to be played. We’ll look at film tomorrow, prepare for Akron and go to work on Monday.”
- Bowling Green’s offense wasn’t brilliant, either. The Falcons made 35 percent of their shots, about 5 points below their average and 5 points below Kent State’s defensive average. They made 9 of 24 shots (35 percent) from 3-point distance, about 2 points above their average and KSU’s defensive average. BG missed nine free throws of its own.
- Dingle led Kent State with 10 points. Alexa Golden had 8, Thall and Carter 7.
- BG scored 14 points off of 12 KSU turnovers. Kent State scored eight off of 14 Bowling Green turnovers.
- Barber-Smith had 12 rebounds, her third straight game in double figures. Golden had 9 and Thall 8. Kent State outrebounded BG 46-45 and had 16 offensive rebounds. But the Flashes scored only eight second-chance points.
- For the second game in a row, Carter and Dingle — KSU’s leading scorers — came off the bench after about five minutes. Starters were Thall, Barber-Smith, Golden, Ali Poole and Mariah Modkins.
- Bowling Green junior wing Andrea Cecil scored 23 points, had 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals. She’s averaging more than 20 points and nine rebounds over her last seven games. Senior Sydney Lambert scored 15 and had five assists. She was playing her last home game in a career in which she started every game she played for four years.
Kent State plays at Akron at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The Flashes beat the Zips, who are eighth in the league, 73-58 in Kent on Feb. 2.
Other MAC scores
- Buffalo (11-5 MAC, 19-8 overall) 86, Miami (12-4, 21-6) 61 in Buffalo.
- Toledo (10-6, 18-9) 64, Northern Illinois (9-7, 17-11) 53 at Toledo.
- Central Michigan (13-3, 22-6) 87, Eastern Michigan ((5-11, 12-16) 60 at Eastern.
- Western Michigan (4-12, 10-17) 72, Ball State (2-14, 7-21) 54 at Western.
- Ohio (12-4, 23-4) 81, Akron (7-9, 16-11) 71 at Akron.
With Miami’s loss at Buffalo, Central Michigan owns first place by itself for the first time this season at 13-3. Miami and Ohio are tied for second at 12-4, Buffalo fourth at 11-5, Toledo fifth at 10-6 and Kent State and NIU tied for sixth at 9-7.