Flashes play well at Ohio, but 20-point 2nd half and just 2 points from foul line cost them in 63-57 loss

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Katie Shumate had 15 points and 13 rebounds against Ohio. The rebounds were the most by a KSU player this season. (File photo by Nick Cammett from KSU Twitter feed.)

For Kent State, the game came down to good shots that didn’t go in. 

For Ohio, eight steals powered a strong second half.

For both teams, free throws told the story: 16 for Ohio. Two for Kent State.

The result was a 63-57 victory for second-place Ohio in Athens. Kent State led by six points at halftime but scored only 20 in the second half.

“We had so many good looks,” coach Todd Starkey said in his postgame radio interview with David Wilson on Golden Flash iHeart Radio. “We shot 19 3s, and I don’t know how many rimmed out. We had shots at the basket that rimmed out. If some of those shots go down…

“I thought we outplayed them for most of the game. We should have won.”

Kent State drops to 5-5 in the MAC and 12-9 overall. The team is sixth in the league, a game behind Toledo and a half game behind Eastern Michigan. Ohio is 8-3 in the conference and 15-7 overall.

The Flashes led 37-31 at halftime behind Katie Shumate’s 13 points. But Kent missed its first seven shots in the second half. Ohio scored off its first three baskets off of turnovers, then took the lead on two free throws. Kent State never caught up.

Ohio, which leads the MAC in turnover margin by a wide margin, actually trailed KSU 10-4 in points off turnovers in the first half. But the Bobcats outscored the Flashes 14-4 off turnovers in the second.

And there were the foul shots. Ohio made 16 of 21. Kent State made two of eight.

“Shooting only eight free throws was bewildering to me,” Starkey said. “The first thing you look at in that situation is, ‘Are we being aggressive enough?’ Well, we had 42 points in the paint,” where drives and close-in shots are more likely to draw fouls.

The number of fouls were fairly close between the two teams. Kent State had 19, Ohio 18. But fouls drawn while shooting and bonus free throws went to the Bobcats.

Kent State missed six of its eight free throws, enough to tie the game by itself. The last time the Flashes made so few foul shots was 2015, when they were one of five against Brown.

Since Starkey arrived the next season, the Flashes have been among the nation’s leaders in drawing and making foul shots. Until the last three games, they had been among MAC leaders this year. But in those games, made six of seven against Toledo, five of seven against Bowling Green and two of eight against Ohio. Opponents shot 57 in those three games, KSU 22.

Kent State’s defensive effort was among its best of the season. Ohio ranked second in the MAC in points per game; the Flashes held the Bobcats 14 points below their average.

Ohio made just 34% of its shots, almost eight points below its average and five points below Kent’s defensive average. The Bobcats made just 24% of their 3-point shots, also eight points and 16 points below KSU’s defensive average on 3-pointers. It was the second-straight game Kent State held a good 3-point shooting team below 25%. Bowling Green made 23% against the flashes on Wednesday.

“I thought we had a good game plan for them,” Starkey said, “Over the last two games we’ve showed growth defensively. Hopefully that’s a sign of more to come for us and that we can continue to build off of our defensive efforts.”

But KSU’s 57 points were its second lowest of the MAC season.

But, Starkey said: “The 57 points is deceiving. We left a 70 point game out there, no question about it.”

Kent State shot only 29% in the second half after shooting 50% in the first. The Flashes were three of 19 on 3-point shots, one of 10 in the second half. Three is a season low for KSU.

Shumate’s double-double

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Freshman guard Katie Shumate had her third game of the season in double digits in scoring and rebounding. Her 13 rebounds were the most by a Kent State player this season. She made six of 17 shots and two 3-pointers.

“She’s the type of player that could have had 20 or 25 shots,  and I probably wouldn’t have minded,” Starkey said. “That means she’s staying aggressive. She had the hot hand.”

Shumate also had four assists and a steal.

Box score

Notes

    • Nila Blackford had 10 points, seven rebounds and a block for the Flashes. Asiah Dingle, coming off the bench for the second straight game also had 10 and three assists (but six turnovers). She had seven rebounds and two steals.

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  • Sophomore Hannah Young played a career-high 27 minutes off the bench, scored seven points and had five rebounds. Lindsey Thall, who scored 19 points and had seven rebounds against Bowling Green, had just two points and two rebounds in 31 minutes. She did equal a career high with four assists.
  • Kent State outrebounded Ohio 45-38 and outscored the Bobcats 12-8 on second-chance points. But the Bobcats outscored KUS 16-1 on fast breaks, most of that coming off of turnovers. The 45 rebounds ties for second most against Division I team this season. (The Flashes had 53 against Division III Hiram.)
  • KSU outscored Ohio 42-26 in the paint. It’s the second most points in the paint KSU has scored this season against a Division I team.
  • Ohio’s Cece Hooks came into the game leading the MAC in scoring in conference games, the framework I use as being the most current. She scored 12, all in the second half, had eight rebounds and five steals. Erica Johnson, the league’s second-leading scorer, had 22, seven rebounds, five assists and five steals.
  • Ohio, which got zero points from its bench in its win over Eastern Michigan Wednesday, got 16 Saturday. Kent State reserves scored 19.
  • Only Syracuse, Butler and Texas have held Ohio to fewer than 63 points this season.

Kent State travels the 11 miles to Akron Wednesday for a 7 p.m. game.

Other MAC scores

  • Toledo (6-4, 11-10) 78, Buffalo (4-6, 13-8) 62 at Buffalo.
  • Eastern Michigan (6-5, 1-11) 83, Western Michigan 79 (4-6, 11-10) at Western.
  • Central Michigan (11-0, 18-4) 99, Miami (4-7, 11-12) 87 at Miami.
  • Ball State (7-3, 15-7) 60, Akron (3-7, 10-11) 52 at Ball State.
  • Northern Illinois (3-7, 7-14) 92, Bowling Green (1-9, 8-14) 87 in overtime at BG.

MAC standings.

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