The Ohio Bobcats quickly turned their fortunes around tonight at home against Kent State, and dominated from midway through the first half on to beat the Golden Flashes 85-67.
Kent State’s Deon Edwin opened scoring after the opening minute, and Ohio struggled early to find the basket, barring a Jaaron Simmons free throw. Antonio Campbell righted the ship by hitting from three, turning the Golden Flashes’ 7-3 lead into a one-point Bobcats deficit, and Kenny Kaminski tied the game at 9 just before the 16-minute mark.
Kent State’s Jaylin Walker broke a 13-all tie by striking from three, but Kaminski answered right back and knotted the game once again. Walker found himself in double digits with a fadeaway jumper after seven and a half, but the hot Kaminski found the net from beyond the arc again to put Ohio up one. Kaminski continued his night by sinking two free throws, and Gavin Block upped Ohio’s lead to five.
Everything went the Bobcats’ way in the middle of the first half, as the Golden Flashes could not hold on to the ball, and couldn’t find the basket when they managed to maintain posession. OU led 25-18 with eight minutes left as Kent State’s scoring drought reached five minutes. Kaminski did not help matters by converting another shot from three. Kent State called a timeout after Ohio’s Jordan Dartis converted a steal into a layup to put the Bobcats up 15.
Deon Edwin showed signs of life for KSU, turning a missed Kevin Zabo free throw into two points to augment Zabo’s first converted shot, but Jaaron Simmons brought the ball back down the court for an Ohio basket. Careless offense that transcended the word “poor” defined Kent State at the end of the first half, which, combined with Ohio’s excellent rebounding and shooting, led to a 45-28 Bobcats lead at the half. A bat was seen flying around the Convocation Center as the first half died down, an apt performance for the drained-looking Golden Flashes.
Jimmy Hall opened the second half with a three-pointer for the Golden Flashes, but Kaminski immediately struck again for two. With 17:12 left in the game, he’d sink another three to put Ohio up 54-33. Kent State would later find themselves on a 9-0 run, but that run found its end when Adonis De La Rosa was called for a technical foul for simulation and Dartis made both shots. Dartis then put the ball up for three after a Kent State airball. Ohio led 63-42 with 12 minutes left.
The death knell for this game came at 10:42 ET, when ESPNU, televising the game, replayed a shot from about twenty minutes prior of a young fan eating a pretzel. The erstwhile Worldwide Leader felt it needed to show us the boy again, who had fallen asleep in the interim.
Ten minutes later, the child remained slumbering.
Ohio fans began their “hey, hey, hey, goodbye” chant with six minutes left, which is normally a bold move, but just made sense tonight. The final ten minutes of the game was simply Ohio rolling to victory, and the tally was 85-67 at the final buzzer.
Ohio improves to 2-0 in MAC play, 10-3 overall, and Kent State falls to 1-1 in the MAC and 9-6 overall. Kaminski’s 23 points led the Bobcats in scoring, while the Golden Flashes were led by Edwin’s 16.
Ohio is next in action on Tuesday at Buffalo, while Kent State is at home on Tuesday against Northern Illinois.