Flashes eclipse ’Hawks
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 21:02
The Miami University men’s basketball team dropped its third consecutive game, falling to Kent State University, 87-70. The 8-15, 3-8 Mid-American Conference (MAC) RedHawks were outplayed from the start, allowing the Golden Flashes five double-figure scorers on the night. Miami’s redshirt junior guard Allen Roberts led the team with 16 points on 5-11 shooting. Freshman guard Geovonie McKnight scored a career-high 12 points, while redshirt junior forward Will Felder scored 10.
“We got our tails kicked,” Head Coach John Cooper said. “A good, old-fashioned butt kicking — that’s what that was. We didn’t have enough energy to start the game. They made shots and were better than us tonight. Period. I’m frustrated with our effort tonight.”
After taking a three-point lead just 19 seconds into the game, Miami surrendered a quick 6-0 scoring run to lose the lead for good. Kent outscored Miami 21-14 over the next 10 minutes of action. The RedHawks were able to make the game close with six minutes to play in the opening half, cutting the deficit to four points, at 30-26, but would get no closer.
The Golden Flashes mustered up a crippling 18-6 run to close out the first half, 48-32. Despite a 16-point deficit, the ’Hawks played a statistically good first half, shooting 46 percent from the floor and 80 percent from the foul line. Kent simply outplayed Miami, connecting on 65 percent from the field and a strong 61 percent from beyond the arc.
Miami’s stat line improved in the second half, as the team drained 12-25 field goals, 37 percent from deep, but went just 11-16 from the line. Kent dropped off in all three categories, but still was able to keep the game under wraps.
The Flashes went up 19 points just as the second half got underway, but Roberts was able to will his team back to within 14 points at the 13:52 mark, 58-44. The large deficit the RedHawks faced all night sucked the life out of the team, as it trailed by as many as 25 points. For the fifth consecutive game, Miami outrebounded the opponent, out-doing Kent 35-26.
By game’s end, Kent had posted a 57 shooting percentage, while shooting 45 percent from three, compared to Miami’s 47 percent shooting, 5-17 from three point land and 16 turnovers.
Kent State’s senior forward Chris Evans led all scorers with 22 points on 9-14 shooting, despite playing on a bad ankle. Evans also recorded 13 boards, four steals and two assists.
“My teammates were joking about it, that maybe my ankle should be injured every game,” Evans said. “When you’re playing, you don’t really focus on it too much. I wasn’t going to let it affect my energy.”
Kent State’s sophomore guard Kris Brewer and senior guard Randal Holt each scored 13 points, while junior forward Mark Henniger and junior guard Bryson Pope scored 11 and 10 points each.
“They’re definitely not 20 points better than us, but they played 20 points better than us,” junior guard Josh Sewell said. “Winning isn’t impossible. We can bounce back.”
Miami next welcomes the Bulls from the University at Buffalo to Millet Hall for the second half of a women’s and men’s double header Saturday. Buffalo is a struggling team (10-15, 5-6 MAC), but has a huge inside presence in junior forward Javon McCrea, who averages 17 points per game. The Bulls’ sophomore forward Will Regan also posts 10 points a game. Rebounding will also be important, as Buffalo averages seven more boards a game than Miami. Despite their record, the Bulls have won two straight. Miami is trying to avoid its third four game losing skid of the season – a mark that would match the 2012 season.
The RedHawks were able to steal a one-point victory earlier this year over Buffalo on Jan. 12, 58-57, in Buffalo behind a 22-point effort from Roberts. McCrea scored 19 for the Bulls, but a 2-19 effort from deep doomed the Bulls in the end. A Miami victory would be the third in four games against the MAC-East rival, having edged them 52-51 at home, but falling 84-74 in New York last season. Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m.