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Kent State Golden Flashes vs SMU Mustangs men's basketball recap: Turnover issues plague Golden Flashes in 90-74 loss to #18 SMU

Kent State's turnover issues did them in in Larry Brown's return from his NCAA suspension.

Larry Brown returned to the bench just in time to watch his undefeated Mustangs beat Kent State in the Las Vegas Classic.
Larry Brown returned to the bench just in time to watch his undefeated Mustangs beat Kent State in the Las Vegas Classic.
Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

Despite Jaylin Walker's hot shooting, turnovers killed the Kent State Golden Flashes in Larry Brown's return to #18 Southern Methodist's bench Tuesday as the Mustangs blazed Kent for a 90-74 win in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic semifinal.

Few things went well for the Golden Flashes on Tuesday as turnovers, poor free throw shooting and an inconsistent offense plagued Kent for all but a few short-lived scoring runs in the first half.

Kent had 12 turnovers in the first half, which is one more than it has averaged over the whole season, and were 17-28 from the free throw line to end the game. The Golden Flashes also found it hard to get their offense going, as an excess of passing to try and find the open man led to many of their turnovers.

And Khaliq Spicer getting into early foul trouble — he picked up two in the first four minutes of the game and played only five minutes in the first half — made it even harder for Kent to try and get back into the game. Spicer wasn't the only big man in foul trouble, as Jimmy Hall was sidelined for long stretches due to his foul accumulation as well.

Walker did all he could to keep the offense afloat, hitting four 3s on the way to a team-leading 20 points, six rebounds and four assists, but it wasn't enough to bring Kent a win.

The game was also kept close by the Golden Flashes holding their own against one of the best offensive teams in the nation. Despite the Mustangs shooting at over an over 50 percent clip, Kent was able to contain them for much of the game despite SMU going on a few scoring runs throughout the game.

The Golden Flashes played SMU close for much of the second half, as the two teams traded multiple poor turnovers, bricked shots and avoidable fouls. But the Mustangs began to pull away late and it became clear that SMU's undefeated record was in no danger, no matter how hard Kent pushed.

Tuesday was a solid upset effort by the Golden Flashes that turned into a good lesson and warmup for their upcoming conference season. They'll play either Colorado or Penn State in the consolation game tomorrow evening.

Game Leaders

Player SMU Kent State
Points N. Moore (25) J. Walker (20)
Rebounds J. Tolbert (10) J. Walker (6)
Assists N. Moore (8) X. Pollard (5)
Blocks Three tied (1) Two tied (1)
Steals N. Moore (4) J. Hall (2)