“What had all the makings of another intense chapter in the Akron – Kent rivalry went the way of the Golden Flashes as The UA men’s basketball team fell at the MAC Center in Kent, Ohio. The Zips (13-6 3-2 MAC) were tied with the Flashes (12-7 3-2 MAC) 35-35 at halftime, but were dominated by the strength and good shooting of the Flashes in the second half.””
What had all the makings of another intense chapter in the Akron – Kent rivalry went the way of the Golden Flashes as The UA men’s basketball team fell at the MAC Center in Kent, Ohio.
The Zips (13-6 3-2 MAC) were tied with the Flashes (12-7 3-2 MAC) 35-35 at halftime, but were dominated by the strength and good shooting of the Flashes in the second half.
We’re not going to win many games when it’s 35-35 at halftime, UA head coach Keith Dambrot said. I thought we did a very poor job of keeping it out of Singletary’s hands. They played through him exclusively in the second half. That put pressure on us because he’s a terrific passer.
Kent State opened up the second half with a 22-4 run and never looked back. The Flashes led by a margin of 20 points before the 10 minute mark in the half.
I just knew they were kicking our behinds, Dambrot said. It’s a game of spurts. They got the spurts. We didn’t handle adversity, and they handled prosperity. We have to become fighters when things go poorly.
Akron was able to narrow the margin to 10 in the closing five minutes but could not get any closer to the physical Flashes.
I think they physically manhandled us really from the get-go, Dambrot said. They physically gave it to us. I didn’t think we handled adversity well. I’ve said it many times, they have some of the best talent in the league.
The talent of the Flashes led to five players scoring double-figures.
Sophomore forward Justin Greene led the Flashes as he compiled 23 points and 13 rebounds.
Greene got going early, forward Chris McKnight said. When the monster’s hungry, you’ve gotta be able to feed him. That’s what they were doing.
McKnight was Akron’s leading scorer with 13 points, and was one of three Zips with double-digits (Jimmy Conyers with 12 and Steve McNees with 11).
We just didn’t guard as well as we should have, McKnight said. They had too many easy buckets. We knew it would be hard coming in here. It always is.
The crowd is always great here. We didn’t handle that well in the second half at all. They converted. We didn’t convert as well as we should have. We have to do better when everything hits the fan.
As what usually happens in a rivalry game, the natives were out to cheer on their team.
When 6,200 are in this building, Kent’s not going to lose too often, Dambrot said. When we get 6,200 in our building, we’re not going to lose often. When it gets loud, we puckered up.
With the loss, Akron is no longer at the top of the MAC standings and are looking up to two teams from the MAC West division, whom no one expected to be as good as they have been.
This is the same team that we had that was 9-8 last year, Dambrot said. This is the same team, without Linhart.
We’re going to have nights that, despite what people think, we’re not the best team in the league. It’s not the best team we’ve ever had. But it’s a team that can develop, because the big boy (Zeke Marshall) is going to get bigger.
The Zips will continue their hopes for MAC supremacy Jan. 27 when they take on the Western Michigan Broncos.
The Broncos are led by guard David Kool, who averages 19.6 points per game.
Tip off is set for 7 p.m. in Kalamazoo, Michigan.