KENT: Early in the second half, Chris Evans grabbed a couple of offensive rebounds but couldn’t will several attempts right at the rim to fall through. After a flurry of close misses, he finally fell to the ground and sprawled out on the floor, seemingly frustrated.
Such was the case for Kent State on Saturday night, as the Golden Flashes started the game ice cold, fell behind 11-2 early on and never recovered in a flat 62-50 loss to Princeton at the M.A.C. Center.
The Flashes ended up shooting 18-of-53 from the field (34 percent), started out shooting a dismal 1-of-10 from the floor and most notably, only had three second-chance points. Kent State had been averaging 18 a game.
It was enough for coach Rob Senderoff to question his team’s effort Saturday night.
“Sometimes the ball goes your way when you play harder,” Senderoff said. “They had two offensive rebounds the whole game and had more second-chance points than us. And we certainly missed a ton of shots so there were a lot of chances to get second-chance points. We just didn’t get them. So, that to me is just effort.
“We normally get about 18 or 19 or 20 offensive rebounds if you miss that many shots. For the first seven or eight games, that’s what we did. Not tonight, though. … Disappointed is probably an understatement for how I feel right now. Just very disappointed.”
The loss dropped Kent State to 5-3 on the season. Following the Flashes’ best two games of the year to date — a 74-60 win over previously unbeaten Nebraska and an 85-78 overtime victory over Youngstown State, both coming on the road — Kent State is now 2-0 on the road but 3-3 at home and its 50 points is the lowest home total since March 4, 2008, against Miami. The Flashes’ play at home has Senderoff concerned.
“I don’t have an answer for it,” he said. “It’s something I don’t completely understand. Thinking about the wrong stuff, not coming out ready to play for whatever reason.
“Our play at home concerns me a great deal. We play a lot of games at home.”
Evans scored a game-high 18 points and had 13 points in the second half alone to go along with eight rebounds and three steals. He still only shot 6-of-16 from the floor, and could never get the Flashes closer than a six-point deficit.
“You just got to keep playing through it,” Evans said of KSU’s shooting woes. “You can’t really worry about the ball going through the net. … The ball just wasn’t going in the rim. I was missing bunnies all night.”
To add to Senderoff’s frustration, Princeton played well. But the Tigers also didn’t do anything the Flashes weren’t ready for on either end of the floor.
“We knew this: the other team [that Princeton has played] had two points at the under-12-minute timeout, or eight points, or six points. So you have to play without getting frustrated. You have to play through that. We knew that.”
Randal Holt and Kris Brewer each added nine points but combined to go 6-of-17 from the floor. Saturday night was also the first night without freshman forward Chris Ortiz, who had surgery on his broken foot Saturday and will be out for a minimum of six weeks.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at email@example.com. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.