January 18, 2009

Flashes can't answer Miami run

Kent State (8-9, 1-2) went scoreless over the last four minutes of the game and the Miami RedHawks (9-6, 2-1) walked away with a big, 66-55, victory on Saturday afternoon at the M.A.C. Center.

Miami ended the game on a 10-0 run to snap the Golden Flashes' nine-game winning streak at home over MAC foes.

Senior guard Al Fisher led Kent State with 14 points and junior sharp shooter Mike McKee had 12 points, all on 3-pointers.

Miami started the game on a 17-6 run behind nine points from senior guard Michael Bramos, who led all scorers with 24.

Kent State came back with a 15-3 run of its own to get back in the ball game.

Miami led at halftime, 32-30 and the Golden Flashes continued to play catch up in the second half as Miami took a 44-37 lead with 13:14 on an Eric Pollitz jumper. Pollitz finished with 12 points and seven assists while starting at point guard, replacing Carl Richburg in the starting lineup.

Kent State battled back to take its first lead of the day at 49-48 with 8:46 to play.

The Golden Flashes will next play on Wednesday at Buffalo with the game scheduled for 7:00 P.M.

Ballard's big day: Sophomore guard/forward Antonio Ballard stepped into the starting lineup on Saturday for Miami and played 39 minutes. Ballard produced a career-high 13 points and 11 rebounds. It was just his second game back from an injury he sustained in practice on December 5.

"The big thing he gave them was an athletic front court player. He's pretty versatile and he does a lot of things well," Kent State head coach Geno Ford said.

Evans struggles: Junior guard Tyree Evans was held scoreless for the first time in eight games with the Golden Flashes. He had been averaging 16.3 points per game. Evans was 0-8 from the field including 0-4 from 3-point range.

"We started out Mike Bramos on him and he's one of our better defenders," said Miami's Eric Pollitz. "Our game plan against him was to chase him where we could and make sure we got to his pocket. We just didn't want him to get comfortable; when he gets comfortable he's a pretty good player."

McKee steps in: With Evans struggling that meant more minutes for junior guard Mike McKee. In 25 minutes, McKee was 4-7 from the floor, all on 3-pointers. During a 12-4 second half spurt that gave the Flashes a 49-48 lead, McKee hit two threes during the stretch.

"My shot, it feels good everyday. I mean it's just a matter of having confidence. Like today, when I saw that first one go in, even though it wasn't clean, it kind of rimmed in, that gives you confidence. It just makes it that much easier to take the next one. So, I think it has a lot to do with that first shot and how it feels. But, like I said, everyday it feels good, it's just a matter of confidence," McKee said.

Quotable:

Miami head coach Charlie Coles
"We don't win very much here so that's a big win for us. As a coach I've always thought that your team will be determined by how good your players are down the stretch, especially in our league where the games are so close and highly contested. Success depends on how well your guys play because there's not a lot you can do for them. I can call plays but that's one basket, they have to play and our guys did a great job of doing that. They battled back even though we made some big mistakes."

Kent State head coach Geno Ford
"It seems like every time we take a step forward we find a way to take one back. We just didn't guard very well. They didn't shoot a great percentage but the shots they got and converted were just too easy. Our biggest fear was that we were going to have to play defense for long stretches of time, that they were going to be very patient and deliberate."

GAME NOTES: The loss also ends a four game winning streak against Miami…Mike McKee's four 3-pointers are his most since he hit five at Eastern Michigan last season (Jan. 30, 2008)…18 of McKee's 23 field goals are from three this season…Chris Singletary (Chicago, Ill./Florida Prep.) had just one steal in the game ending his streak of nine straight games with at least two steals…Kent State equaled a season low with four steals in the game…Second straight game KSU hit at least 70-percent (7-10) from the foul line.


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