The Golden Flashes (15-7, 6-2) continue to win in their golden uniforms. Kent State won their fifth straight game on Monday night, all wearing the gold. The Flashes did it in impressive fashion, running away for a 76-46 victory. With Akron's home loss to Eastern Michigan, KSU is in 1st place by themselves.
More important than the uniforms was Kent State's defense. The Flashes held Northern Illinois (8-12, 4-4) to 29 percent shooting in the game, including 21 percent in the second half and just 17 points. NIU was 2-15 from behind the arc.
The Huskies came into the game leading the MAC in scoring during conference games at 75 points per game. Xavier Silas, NIU's smooth swingman came into the game leading the MAC in conference games by averaging 24 points per game. Thanks to smothering team defense and a great individual effort by Tyree Evans, Silas went 1-9 and finished with seven points.
“Coach has been preaching, ‘Defense, defense, defense.’ We’ve done so many defensive drills that it’s stuck in our heads," Justin Greene said. "Everybody knows the hedge, everybody knows the help side, everybody knows to get over the screen or under the screen. Whatever Coach tells us to do, we just go out there and get it done.”
Greene led the Flashes with 18 points, while Anthony Simpson (12), Randal Holt (11) and Chris Singletary (10) all joined Greene in double figures. Singletary had a good overall game with eight rebounds and six assists.
Kent State shot 47 percent from the field and were able to knock down seven three pointers on the evening.
"We did a good job of going inside-out on offense," Head Coach Geno Ford said. "That’s our team. "We’ve got to go inside out. Tonight, everything clicked offensively.”
Thanks to Kent State's defense, especially on Silas, they were able to cruise to their 14th straight victory against a team from the West division. They have now won 19 straight at home against the West. Head Coach Geno Ford is now 10-0 against the West at Kent State.
Northern Illinois coach Ricardo Patton came away impressed at the Flashes' dismantling of his team. “Coming into this game I thought Buffalo was the best team I’d seen so far in our league," he said. "Right now, I’d have to give that nod to Kent State. I thought whatever Kent State is doing in the weight room, they’re building men. Xavier Silas has probably the best basketball body of any of the guys that we have, and he looked small out there.”
Kent State will make a road trip through Michigan later this week. They will play at Eastern Michigan on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m.
BRACKETBUSTER = WESTERN CAROLINA - Kent State will host Larry Hunter and Western Carolina in their BracketBuster game on February 20. Game time is set for 8:00 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPNU. Hunter is the former coach at Ohio University and was Ford's college coach. Hunter had Ford's brother Dustin as an assistant at WCU before he accepted an assistant position at Ohio last season. Last season Western Carolina came into the M.A.C. Center and beat the Flashes 89-84 in overtime. The Catamounts are currently 17-5 and 7-3 in the Southern Conference's North Division with an RPI of 73. Sticking with the Western Carolina theme, Kent State recently got a verbal commitment from former Western Carolina guard and Massillon native Mike Porrini to play for the Flashes next season. Kent State will play at Western Carolina in the 2010-2011 season in November or December.
SINGLETARY IS MAC EAST POW - Singletary was named MAC East Player of the Week earlier in the day for his performances last week in leading the Flashes to a 2-0 record. He averaged 16 points per game during the week. It was his second player of the week honor this season and Kent State's fifth time on the season a player has won the award.