Coach Todd Starkey on the sidelines of Saturday’s game with Buffalo. (Photo by David Dermer from KSU Twitter feed.)
There was absolutely nothing good about Kent State’s fourth quarter in its 57-44 loss to Buffalo Saturday.
The Flashes led 33-30 in a gritty defensive game going into the last 10 minutes. Then Kent State:
- Made just two of 15 shots and zero of six 3-point attempts..
- Saw four of its shots blocked by the Bulls.
- Missed six foul shots.
- Turned the ball over six times, four on Buffalo steals. That led to six Buffalo points.
- Took its first lead since the first quarter with 6:08 to go.
- Then outscored KSU 14-5 over the next two minutes and just increased the score until the end of the game.
- Made 10 of 19 shots after shooting just 27.9% in the first three quarters.
- Committed just one turnover, which the Flashes turned into one point.
What went wrong?
“We showed a complete lack of toughness, especially in the third and fourth quarters,” coach Todd Starkey told reporters after the game. “Some of the rest of it came down to a lack of focus and offensive execution.
“I thought we played a little bit selfish on some of the offensive side. And when we had opportunities to finish (shots close to the basket), we didn’t go up strong. We had too many turnovers down the stretch.”
Starkey was subdued when he talked to reporters, but he was angry during his postgame radio interview with Dan Griffin on Golden Flash iHeart Radio.
“We let (Buffalo) do what they wanted,” he said. “We lay down in the seconds half. I’m disappointed in the team and myself. The game had nothing to do with Buffalo. It was our lack of composure and lack of toughness.”
For three quarters, Kent State played as good defense as it has this season. The Flashes — mostly guards Asiah Dingle and Mariah Modkins — held Buffalo’s star freshman guard, Dyaisha Fair, to four points and forced her into four turnovers. (Fair averages 22 points a game, second highest in the MAC.) KSU had seven steals. The Bulls made just 10 of 39 shots and two of 10 three-pointers.
But Fair scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and had four assists.
Kent’s Megan Carter returned to action after missing three games with mononucleosis and playing sick for several games before that. She hit two 3-point baskets at the beginning of the second quarter to give the Flashes a lead they held for the next two quarters. She finished with seven points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals in 26 minutes.
Carter is one of five Kent State players to average in double figures.
No one scored 10 points Saturday. Nila Blackford and Dingle led the team with eight. Carter and Lindsey Thall had seven. Freshman guard Katie Shumate didn’t score.
8:40 4Q | Kent State 35, UB 33
Asiah Dingle goes up and gets the basket and draws the foul! pic.twitter.com/nvlRq5uMWb
— Kent State Women’s Basketball (@KentStWBB) January 25, 2020
- Kent State drops to 3-3 in the MAC and 10-7 on the season. The loss breaks a three-game winning streak and is the second conference loss at home this season.
- Buffalo is 4-3 and 13-6 overall. The Bulls are tied for third in the MAC. Kent State is eighth but only 1 1/2 games away from a tie for second.
- Buffalo leads the conference in rebounding, but the Flashes had the edge Saturday, 41-40, and in offensive rebounding, 16-14. But KSU got only three second-chance points from those rebounds. Buffalo had nine. Blackford and Thall led Kent State with seven.
- 44 points was the fewest Kent State has scored this season. Buffalo’s 57 was the second fewest the Flashes have allowed against Division I competition and the Bulls’ second lowest of the season.
- Kent was outscored in the paint 28-12 and made just 24.1% of its shots.
- Blackford had been fourth in shooting in the MAC games going into the game. She was three of 16 Saturday. Thall had been fifth in the MAC in 3-point shooting. She was one of eight and two of 16 overall.
- Kent State had led the MAC in foul shooting and blocked shows. The Flashes made 10 of 19 free throws, their lowest percentage of the season. Thall blocked two shots, but Buffalo blocked eight, led by forward Marissa Hamilton’s four.
- The victory was Buffalo coach Felisha Legette-Jack’s 156th at the school. That’s the most of any Buffalo women’s coach.
- Attendance was 1,011.
The Flashes are home again at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Ball State. The Cardinals beat KSU 66-62 in the conference opener and are 5-2 in the MAC and 12-6 overall.
Other MAC scores
- Central Michigan (7-0 MAC, 14-4 overall) 73, Toledo (4-2, 9-8) 66 at Central.
- Ohio (5-2, 12-6) 79, Bowling Green (1-6, 8-11) 69 at Ohio.
- Ball State (5-2, 13-6) 80, Miami (1-6, 8-11) 63 at Ball State.
- Eastern Michigan (4-3, 9-9) 62, Northern Illinois (1-6, 5-13) 55 at Eastern.
- Western Michigan (4-3, 11-7) 79, Akron (2-5, 9-9) 71 at Western.
Lots more video is on the KSU Twitter feed.