KENT - Kent State continues to find ways to win. The Flashes used an 11-0 run at crunch time in the second half to defeat Western Carolina 74-72 in front of 5,003 roaring fans on Saturday night at the M.A.C. Center.
Kent State won their 20th game of the season. It is the 11th time in 12 years that the Flashes have won 20+.
Sophomore Justin Greene led KSU with 21 points and nine rebounds. Senior Chris Singletary had 11 points and nine assists. Tyree Evans, playing with a mask on to protect his surgically repaired nose, had 14 points while Rod Sherman chipped in with 11.
“We really improved our intensity in the last four minutes,” said coach Geno Ford. “We haven’t been playing as well lately as we were a few weeks ago. We got out toughed all game, but in the last four minutes guys like Chris Singletary and Justin Greene were not going to let us lose.”
Kent State picks up its fifth straight BracketBuster win, tying the program for the longest winning streak in the nation in the annual event.
Kent State returns to conference play on Wednesday, February 24th when the team travels to Bowling Green.
“The tougher team wins, and we just dig down and grind it out,” said Sherman. “From now on, every game is going to be a grind-out game. We've been here before. We've got six seniors. We've got one more home game, and we just want to do it for the seniors and send them out on a good note."
FLASHES WIN 20 GAMES AGAIN -Kent State won their 20th game of the season on Saturday night. It is the 11th time in the past 12 seasons that the program has reached that milestone. “We just come out and play Kent State basketball every chance we get,” Singletary said. “We know that stuff will take care of itself. Last year, we missed it by one game. This year, we bounced right back and got it. As long as we come out and play Kent State basketball, everything will take care of itself." While winning 20 games has been something the media and fans like to talk about, anyone who has followed Kent State basketball knows it isn't something they talk about much internally. Jim Christian like to use the word "by-product" a lot. As Kent State continues to compete for championships year in and year out, 20 wins becomes a by-product of that. As Ford pointed out to the media after the game, Kent State could have easily won 20 games or more in 2008-09 but playing a schedule with the likes of Illinois, Texas A&M, Kansas and St. Mary's aren't exactly easy wins. In 2009-10, Kent State has played seven non-conference opponents with RPI's in the top 100 according to RealTimeRPI.com coming into today's action.
MAC IN BRACKETBUSTER - The Mid-American Conference went 7-5 on BracketBuster Saturday. In the only other nationally televised game involving a MAC school, former Akron assistant Shaka Smart and VCU beat Akron 70-53.
DIMARIA ON THE MOVE AGAIN - Remember former Kent State swingman Antonio DiMaria? Its OK if you don't, he only played in a handful of games last season before transferring out at the semester break. It appears the Pittsburgh native is on the move again, verbally committing to play for the Utah Utes. The talented DiMaria has had a long basketball ride.
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL - KENT STATE 80, OHIO 74
Jamilah Humes scored 23 points and Taisja Jones had 20 points and 10 rebounds Saturday to lead visiting Kent State to an 80-74 victory over Ohio University.
The Golden Flashes (17-8, 10-3) overcame a sluggish performance with a 10-0 run late in the game to get past the Bobcats (6-20, 2-11) and secure their first 10-win season in the Mid-American Conference since 2006-07.
It is the 17th time in coach Bob Lindsay's 21 seasons that KSU has won 10 conference games. The Flashes remain one game behind East Division-leading Bowling Green, which defeated the University of Akron on Saturday.
''I thought we came out a bit flat-footed today and we didn't play with as much energy as we should,'' Lindsay said.
''That being said, we still found enough in the second half to make the plays we needed down the stretch.''
A free throw by Yoshica Spears (14 points) and a 3-pointer by Spears after her missed free throw turned a 67-65 deficit into a 69-67 lead and the Flashes never trailed again.