KENT, Ohio - The Ball State men's basketball team closed Mid-American Conference crossover play with a 76-55 loss to Kent State at the M.A.C. Center Saturday morning on ESPNU. The loss drops the Cardinals to 12-11 overall and 4-7 in MAC play while the Golden Flashes improve to 18-6 overall and 8-3 in league action.
"This was a tough time for us to come to Kent State short-handed and they really abused us in the front court, where we were thinner," head coach Billy Taylor said. "We would have liked to have seen Jarrod Jones be more of the focal point of our offense and our defense. We really needed him to be a presence for us in the paint, but Kent State scoring 26 points in the paint in the first half was too difficult to overcome."
Freshman forward Aaron Adeoye (Marion, Ill./Marion) recorded his third straight career-high scoring performance as he led the Cardinals with 14 points, 12 in the second half, while also grabbing a team-high seven rebounds. Sophomore forward Chris Bond (Gary, Ind./Bowman Academy) added 11 second half points and five rebounds in the loss. The Cardinals were playing without the services of sophomores Tyler Koch (Winchester, Ind./Wright State) and Matt Kamieniecki (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston) due to a family emergency and injury, respectively.
Kent State was led by reigning MAC Player of the Year Justin Greene who scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Carlton Guyton chipped in 14 points and Randal Holt added 13 as the Golden Flashes won for the eighth straight time in series history.
Kent State came out quickly as it opened to a 15-8 lead 10 minutes into the game. The Cardinals slowed the momentum as freshman Zeke Chapman (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral) and senior Randy Davis (Plymouth, Ind./Plymouth) hit back-to-back three-pointers to narrow the gap to 15-14.
Kent State answered back with six straight on its way to a 12-2 run to force the Cardinals into a timeout at 27-16. Greene scored the first four of the run on his way to 10 first half points while Chris Evans added six straight to cap the spurt.
After another set of three-pointers from Davis and Chapman, the Golden Flashes closed the half on an 11-5 run to take a 38-24 lead into the locker room as Devareaux Manley hit a three-pointer at the buzzer.
Ball State connected on just 33.3 percent (8-of-24) from the field in the first half but committed six turnovers which led to six KSU points. Chapman and Davis led the way for the Cardinals with six points apiece. Kent State connected on 55.2 percent (16-of-29) from the field in the first half as it out-scored the Cardinals 26-4 in the paint. The Golden flashes dominated the glass as they held a 19-10 advantage in the opening frame.
After Kent State opened the second half with a three-pointer, the Cardinals responded with a 10-3 run to pull within nine at 43-34 and force KSU into a timeout. Bond was the offensive catalyst in the run as he scored eight straight in the paint, including a pair of baskets in transition.
Kent State ended any chance of a comeback as it posted a 15-4 run to extend the lead to 58-38 with just under 12 minutes to play in the half. The Golden Flashes hit three three-pointers in the run, including a pair from Guyton who scored eight points in the spurt.
Ball State finished the game shooting 38.0 percent (19-of-50) from the field and 35.7 percent (5-of-14) from long range. The Cardinals out-scored the Golden Flashes 16-12 in the paint in the second half, thanks in large part to Adeoye and Bond's production.
Sophomore guard Tyrae Robinson (Gary, Ind./Bowman Academy) rounded out the Cardinals in double figures as he scored 11 points and dished out five assists. Senior forward Jarrod Jones (Michigan City, Ind./Michigan City) was limited to just seven points on 2-of-12 shooting from the field in the loss.
Kent State finished the afternoon shooting 51.7 percent (31-of-60) from the field and 50 percent (8-of-16) from three-point land. The Golden Flashed posted a 38-29 advantage on the glass and out-scored the Cardinals 36-20 in the paint.
The Cardinals return to intra-divisional play Wednesday night as they host Toledo. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Worthen Arena.