February 4, 2009
Flashes rout Rockets
Kent State (11-11, 4-4) shot 56-percent overall and made 11 3-pointers on the way to an easy, 81-52, victory over Toledo on Tuesday night at the M.A.C. Center in Kent.
Junior Tyree Evans led the Golden Flashes with 14 points and had four of the Golden Flashes' 3-point buckets. Mike McKee equaled a season high with 12 points and also hit four from downtown, all coming in the first half to spark KSU to a 41-25 lead at halftime.
All of McKee's threes came in a 23-8 run to close out the first half.
Kent State rode that momentum, and 62-percent shooting in the second half, to lead by as many as 30 and put the visitors from Northwest Ohio away.
Senior forward Julian Sullinger had 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the floor to raise his 65.6-percent field goal percentage in the MAC, which ranked him second in the league coming into the game.
"As you could see, we got off to a slow start, but I think after the Akron game, we had a sit down and talked as a team," Sullinger said. "I think we all came together, and for once everyone was clicking together. Everybody understood what we had to do to win and began to understand their roles. When you get out there in the court, you've got to execute whatever it is you've got to do."
Kent State's defense continued to be stingy, holding the Rockets to 39-percent shooting, including just 32-percent in the second half.
"We hung in there for a little while, and then Kent State was their customary Kent State - tough," said first year Toledo head coach Gene Cross. "They smacked us in the mouth. We didn't respond. They gained confidence from their defense, and we folded. The better they defended us, the better they shot it. We also turned the ball over, and any time you turn the ball over like that, as we have all year, you're not going to win ball games."
Tyrone Kent led Toledo with 17 points and Justin Anyijong had 13 points and nine rebounds.
Kent State will play at West Division leading Ball State on Saturday at 2:00P.M.
McKee gets his threes: Mike McKee gave the Golden Flashes a huge lift off the bench Tuesday night with 12 points in 20 minutes, all on 3-pointers in the first half.
"Mike was terrific. I thought he made a big step tonight," said Kent State head coach Geno Ford. "He went in, he got fouled, he missed both free throws and he missed an open three. We took him out for 30 seconds just to make sure he was still staying confident because Mike's really a smart player, and sometimes he'll take things a little too hard and get down on himself. When he does that, he's not very effective. We took him out and said, 'Next time you're open, you just need to shoot it.' And then the next one went in."
Mincy doing what it takes: Senior point guard Jordan Mincy continued to be aggressive on the offensive end for Kent State going 4-for-6 from the field while scoring nine points, and contributing seven assists and just one turnover. Last week against Eastern Michigan, Mincy had a career-high in a MAC game, as well as at home.
"The thing with Jordan, to be honest, we have always addressed with him is that when he drives the ball that he needs to drive to finish and if they help, drop it off, but drive to finish," Ford said. "In terms of the perimeter, he's just confident right now so he's looking to shoot a little bit more."
Junior guard Tyree Evans chimed in about the usually pass first point guard.
"Basically, we had to force Jordan to shoot sometimes. Now, he's getting comfortable and he's got his 'mojo' back and feeling like he can shoot. As long as he's got that confidence and he's shooting the ball, he's helping us instead of everybody having to worry about me and Al," Evans said.
Amos out: Toledo senior guard Jonathan Amos missed his second straight game after being suspended for disciplinary reasons. Amos is known as one of the MAC's best defenders and has been a very key contributor for the Rocket program over the last four years, including the 2006-2007 squad that won the MAC regular season championship.
Bracket Buster game set: Kent State will host the Morehead State Eagles in the ESPNU Bracket Busters event on Feb. 21. Morehead State currently sits in first place in the Ohio Valley Conference at 9-2 and owns a 13-10 overall record. This will be the third meeting between the two schools and the first since 1994. Both the Golden Flashes and the Eagles have won on their home court in the two previous meetings.
- Kent State has won 16 straight at home against MAC West opponents
- Jordan Mincy reached 300 points for his career. Mincy now has 26 points in the last three games
- Third straight game Tyree Evans has made at least three 3-pointers. Evans is shooting 10-17 (58.8 percent) in the last three games from three. Having played in just 13 games, Evans leads KSU with 36 three-pointers, accounting for 28 percent of the team's three-pointers this season
- Julian Sullinger is shooting 83 percent FGs at home this season (34-41). Sullinger shot 5-5 FGs tonight marking the eighth time in 11 home games this season he has been perfect from the field
- Sullinger is shooting 70.3 percent in MAC play this season
- The 11 three pointers are the second most this season by KSU (12 vs. Shawnee State)
- Justin Greene's seven rebounds are his second most this season (8 vs. SSU). Greene is averaging 5.7 rebounds in the last three games.
Click here for photos from the game. All photos by Danny Doherty.
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