January 15, 2009

Flashes soar over Falcons

KENT -- Kent State (8-8, 1-1) overcame a sluggish start to coast to a 72-48 victory over Bowling Green (8-7, 1-1) on Wednesday night at the M.A.C. Center in Kent before 2,118 fans on a frosty, frigid night.

Senior guard Al Fisher led the Golden Flashes with 23 points and seven assists with only two turnovers. Junior forward Anthony Simpson produced his best game in a Kent State uniform with 16 points and seven rebounds.

Down by six points early, Kent State turned up its intensity with a "switch every screen" defense and after Fisher's two free throws, Kent State led, 29-22, at the 5:31 mark of the first half.

Bowling Green got back in it before halftime to tie the score at 33 going into the break.

The second half saw Kent State out score Bowling Green, 39-15, and the Falcons shoot just 23-percent. Bowling Green was 0-10 on 3-point field goals in the second half and 2-20 in the game.

Bowling Green's starting guards Darryl Clements, Brian Moten and Joe Jakubowski shot a combined 3-20 from the field in the game.

"When I first got here, I wasn't one of the main guys on defense, but I learned that the tradition of Kent State basketball, it starts on the defensive end," said junior guard Chris Singletary. "Especially tonight, with us bringing intensity we were able to put them away in the second half."

Kent State used a 19-0 run to take a 60-39 second half lead to put the game away.

Chris Knight led Bowling Green with 15 points off the bench. Otis Polk grabbed a game high 10 rebounds, but was held to just one after the break.

Kent State, which has won nine straight and 21 of 22 home games against league competition, hosts Miami on Saturday at 12 noon in a Fox Sports Ohio Broadcast.

GAME NOTES:

Improved at the charity stripe: Kent State, which came into the game last in the MAC at 59.7-percent from the free throw line, knocked down 16-of-17 including their last 16 on Wednesday night. Singletary said, "Coach makes us shoot everyday after practice. The more we shoot the better we'll get. I think it it's just a confidence thing."

Simpson shines: Junior forward Anthony Simpson had 16 points and seven rebounds on 7-10 shooting from the field in 26 minutes and provided the Flashes with some much needed production in the paint. Head coach Geno Ford was pleased with the effort.

"We need Anthony to play well," he said. "Anthony is the most dynamic front court player we have. He's our best athlete; he's our biggest guy. He can run and he can shoot. Tonight was a break through because he competed hard. When he plays like that we're really good."

Singletary's leadership: Ford spoke how in recent weeks Singletary has been a leader on and off the court and is like a coach on the floor with his consistent intensity at both ends of the floor.
"It's happened the last two weeks where the coaching is coming from the players," Ford said. "Chris has been very vocal. He went from a guy a year ago who would take plays off to now a guy who hasn't taken a lot of mental blows despite playing a lot of minutes. He's communicating and guys respect Chris."

BY THE NUMBERS: The previous season high was nine straight free throws against Youngstown State (Dec. 15…First time this season KSU has made over 70 percent …Al Fisher had seven assists marking his third straight game with at least six assists. Fisher is averaging 4.8 assists in the last five games…It was the ninth career 20 point game and fourth this season for Fisher…The 23 points also are a M.A.C. Center career high for Fisher…Kent State is now 18-4 all-time when Fisher leads them in scoring…Senior Julian Sullinger (Columbus, Ohio / Fork Union Military Acad. [Va.]), is shooting 23-26 (88.4 percent) at home this season…Junior Brandon Parks (Bunker Hill, Pa. / Maconaquah H.S.) had five rebounds bringing his season total to 100. Parks had just 21 rebounds in his first two seasons combined…The 15 points by Bowling Green in the second half are the fewest allowed in a half by KSU this season and the fewest since hold Akron to 15 in the first half of the MAC regular season finale last season (Mar. 8, 2008)…The seven turnovers by KSU equal the teams fewest amount this season, in the season opener vs. NC Central.


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