KENT: A day after Wednesday’s loss to Ohio in Kent State’s Mid-American Conference opener, the Golden Flashes held a players-only meeting in addition to their usual team meeting.
Coach Rob Senderoff also met individually with point guard Kris Brewer and the team endured an extra shooting session.
Individually and collectively, the Flashes (9-5) are doing all they can to try to fix the problems on offense that have led to a 1-4 stretch after an 8-1 start.
It’s not too late to right the ship, but the margin for error is diminishing with the grind of the MAC schedule ahead.
“Early in the year we were finding ways to win close games,” Senderoff said. “And we were doing it in different ways. Sometimes we were playing great defensively and sometimes we were playing great offensively. Right now, we’re not doing that. Right now, we’re really, really struggling offensively.”
Kent State has shot less than 40 percent in four of its past five games, including during the current three-game losing streak. Against the Bobcats, the Flashes converted a season-low 28.3 percent (17-of-60) from the field. The shooting struggles carried over to the free-throw line and from behind the 3-point arc.
Not even layups were a sure thing.
Shot selection isn’t an issue for the Flashes — shots just aren’t falling.
“Against Ohio, we missed 14 layups,” Senderoff said. “Granted, they blocked eight shots. But outside of that, we missed 14 shots with balls that were right there on top of the rim. We also missed 11 completely uncontested 3s.
“It’s not that we’re taking bad shots. There’s no better shot than one right on top of the basket. Shots just aren’t falling because we’re not finishing.”
The only KSU starter not having a tough time right now is forward/center Mark Henniger. The 6-foot-9, 230-pound senior from Jackson High School, had never been a regular until this season, yet he’s been the Flashes’ most consistent player averaging 9.2 points and a team-high 5.8 rebounds per game.
The other four starters seem to not only be struggling with their physical play, but mentally as well as the losing appears to be taking a toll.
The Flashes’ depth off the bench had been a strength to start the season but it has also had a decline in production.
“No doubt about it, we’re in a funk,” said Senderoff. “In my opinion, a lot of it has to do with the way our schedule’s been. We played well early on when we were playing regularly. Since then, we had 17 days off at the start of December, five more days off before we played Cleveland State (Dec. 28) and then had another eight days off after we played at Princeton (Dec. 31). There’s been no rhythm.”
If there’s one thing league play brings with it, its consistency as teams in the MAC play twice a week for the next two months.
KSU hopes to return to form against Ball State (3-9, 0-1) at 7 tonight at the M.A.C. Center.
“We’re hoping now we’ll get back into a rhythm now and it will help our offense get back to where it was early in the season,” Senderoff said. “Because [a lack of a consistent schedule is] the only thing that’s changed. We’re running the same sets, with the same players.”
Stephanie Storm can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Kent State blog at http://www.ohio.com/flashes. Follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SStormABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.