March 6, 2009

Flashes survive Bulls

After a forgettable performance in regulation, Al Fisher's one-man show in overtime Thursday night against Buffalo lifted the Flashes to a 77-71 victory at the M.A.C. Center.

"Al struggled through most of the night, but in crunch time he made some monstrous plays for us and had the game winner," Kent State head coach Geno Ford said.

Both of these teams had a lot at stake in Thursday night's game. Buffalo (17-12, 10-5 MAC) is now immersed in a four-way tie for first place in the MAC East and the Flashes (17-3, 9-6 MAC) were able to snap a two-game losing streak.

The two teams shot well to start the game, trading the lead seven times in the first eight minutes. The Flashes were able to stay hot a little longer though, building a 14-point lead at one point.

Instead of letting Kent State build on the margin, Buffalo crawled its way back into it.

Mike McKee's tip in with just over four minutes to go was the last basket the Flashes would score in the half.

Junior Chris Singletary's foul trouble may have something to do with Flashes' lax play. The forward's nine points led the Flashes at the half and his leader was missed.

"The guy who was playing the best was sitting beside me with two fouls," Ford said.

The Bulls capitalized on this opportunity by reclaiming some of their confidence from earlier in the game and went into the locker room only down five points.

The two teams stayed close all throughout the second half, which made for a pre-tournament atmosphere that brought the raucous crowd of 3,194 to its feet multiple times.

With 20 seconds to play in the game and the Flashes looking to take the lead, Tyree Evans' 3-pointer came up short but Singletary was fouled by Calvin Betts in a scramble for the rebound, sending the junior forward to foul line.

Singletary made both of his free throws to tie the game at 67.

On the next possession, Bills guard Rodney Pierce's 3-pointer at the end of the regulation missed, forcing overtime.

In the extra period, with Singletary fouling out half way through, Fisher stepped his game up.

His spin move into the paint and resulting finger-roll lay-up with 29 seconds left gave the Flashes a safe lead, 73-68.

Singletary's 19 points on top of Fisher's 15 points led the Flashes. Forward Julian Sullinger contributed 12 points and 11 rebounds, his first career double-double.

"Julian rebounded tonight better than he has in any game this year," Ford said.

Jordan Mincy scored 13 points, a reminder to opposing coaches that he can contribute with offense.

Gamble was one of four Bulls players to score in double figures. He ended the game with 17 points in addition to Pierce's 16, Titus Robinson's 14, and Mitchell Watt's 10.

The Flashes host Akron on Sunday. It is their final game before the conference tournament.

"We want to go to Cleveland with momentum, you don't want to get beat at home..." Ford said.

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