January 1, 2011

Shots don't fall in Flashes loss

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The New Year will be more worrisome than celebratory for head coach Geno Ford after Kent State couldn't buy a basket against James Madison
on Friday, shooting just 30-percent from the field en route to falling 60-51.

The Flashes, entering conference play against Akron on Jan 8, will go into
that key game on the ropes after dropping two straight and leaving the MAC
Center with a loss for the first time in 16 tries.

"[Shooting that poorly] was unbelievable," Ford said. "I
don't know that our shot selection was real good. That being said, we
couldn't even make a layup, we couldn't make a 10-foot shot on
the baseline. That was as bad a shooting performance as we've had in
a long time."

Forward Justin Greene found open looks thanks to his nice footwork
around the basket but saw countless shots bounce around the rim and finished
6-of-18 from the field.

"Nobody could make anything--that happens," Greene said, not too
worried going forward after this baffling day shooting the ball. "We've
been shooting the ball pretty well but tonight we just couldn't get anything
to drop. Nobody could make anything."

Through sheer grit more than anything, the Golden Flashes held a one point
lead at halftime, but never were able to get into second gear and watched as
JMU tore off a 20-6 run to open the half.

"We hit a stretch where everyone got lackadaisical," guard Rodriquez Sherman said. "For that three to four minutes when we got out of
it they turned it up on the defensive end the game turned right there."

Sherman shot just 5-of-15 from the floor and 2-of-8 from 3-point range, which
was par for the team, and scored 17 points. Sophomore Randal Holt,
who scored 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting just three days ago against Morehead
State, shot 1-of-7 and 0-for-4 from behind the arc.

Point guard Michael Porrini, who is playing with an injured right
wrist that is hampering his ability to drive to his right side, went down in
the first half with a sprained right ankle but returned a couple minutes later.
He shot just 2-of-12 from the field and 2-of-8 from 3-point range while turning
the ball over six times.

"We were forcing it on the offensive end," Sherman said. "We'd
try to force it to Justin, and when plays broke down we would just force it
down to the basket. I don't think it's pressing, we just need to
slow down as a team and make the smart play."

Freshman Eric Gaines was perhaps the only one in a white uniform
who played well, scoring six points to go along with three steals and a block.

Gaines' value appears only outside the box score, where it seems every
game for two to three minutes he takes over with a couple of steals, a block
and a ferocious dunk on the other end.

Ford knows these poor shooting nights are bound to happen eventually.

"I'm only worried from the standpoint of finding a way to win.
If you're going to be a good team you've got to find a way to win
on nights you don't shoot it well," Ford said. "We weren't
going to beat many teams today, especially a good James Madison team."

Kent State travels to play rival Akron on Jan. 8 to open Mid-American Conference
play in what is surely one of the most important games on the schedule.

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