And the MAC's lone nationally-televised game ends just like that. Lousy stinking dragon breath.
The bugaboo that could never be ignored was the 16-0 run Drexel rattled off in the first half, and after that KSU could never get a good counterstrike of their own. But really all night, Kent State was playing with too much urgency, either taking the quick shot or going for the off-balance runner. I haven't watched the Golden Flashes all that much but I doubt that they won 17 games so far with that type of play. It seemed forced.
That doesn't mean they didn't play terribly. Uncharacteristically, there were bunches of points, and to their credit they did maintain pace in the second half. They just couldn't break through once they were down seven points, it'd catapult back to 11 and before you knew it, that clock had enough.
Justin Greene couldn't get shots to fall either. He was well-guarded, sure, but 4-of-16 from the field will make you wince. He ended up with 15 rebounds, seven of them offensive, so at least he was continually bringing home the second-chance opps. And true to form, guys like Randal Holt and Carlton Guyton stepped up with some key baskets (Guyton popped a 3 to end the first half to make it a 12-point deficit instead of 15). But Drexel's just better. I don't know if they're NCAA-worthy (they might have to win the Colonial to do that, or come close to it), but it's not a loss Kent State oughta feel bad about.
The guys on ESPNU mentioned it, but it's worth noting: let's remember that the MAC is a one-bid conference until spoken otherwise. BracketBusters are midterms for teams like this, and they scored a fat B.
Their road trip is almost over. They need to make up that game at Western on Monday, and then it's some good ol' MAC East brouhahas: Buffalo, OHIO, at Bowling Green, and Akron. Three of their last four at home, and the away game is entirely winnable. It's looking to be a 12-4 season for the Flashes, which might be enough for that delicious 1-seed.
As long as they don't force it like they did tonight.