As sloppy as the conditions were outside with the snowy mush that sloshed around thanks to cars and freezing students, the offensive play early in the Convocation Center was arguably even more of a mess for both Ohio and Kent State. The play wasn't much prettier inside, but that's just how Kent State likes it, and coasted in the second half to a 64-51 victory.
Coach Saul Phillips said "I think if we did a, get in the Octagon and had a UFC fight between our team and their team, they would have had the advantage tonight."
Nearly every time the ball got inside 10-12 feet of the basket, it was just about guaranteed to bounce around on the floor and off the hands of the big men, and all around the paint. Some garbage buckets from both teams kept things interesting early, as neither came out with a hot hand.
Jimmy Hall made it onto the court after an extended illness (reportedly mono, and he still seems to be affected by it) and netted 9 points.
Devareaux Manley basically silenced any noise that the Convocation Center crowd was making with an and-1 3-pointer to tie Trevor Huffman for second on Kent's all-time 3-point list with his 206th career trey. It was his fourth of the game, and it made the score 53-41 after the free throw. If Ohio looked lackadaisical before that, the debilitating basket only compounded it. Manley later passed Huffman with under a minute to go.
This was after Kent led at the half 36-25, and came out still taking it to Ohio. But Ohio mounted a mini-comeback of sorts to pull within two at 41-39 with two Antonio Campbell free throws, but Khaliq Spicer responded with a nice over the shoulder hook from the right block to get the Golden Flashes back on track. Quickly the score was 49-39 and Coach Rob Senderoff's team had wrested firm control of the contest from Ohio.
Kent finished by holding yet another team below 25 percent from beyond the arc (Ohio was 2-12 on the day), and are now 11-0 when they do so.
The Golden Flashes also made the best of their second chance opportunities, outscoring the Bobcats 17-6 when given another chance to score. Ohio didn't help themselves by missing several, as Coach Saul Phillips called them "point-blank layups." KSU also converted on 17-20 free throws, with Chris Ortiz and Kris Brewer both knocking down 6-6.
"Somebody forgot to tell our shooting ability that it wasn't a snow day today," Coach Phillips said afterwards.
Stevie Taylor gave Ohio somewhat of a spark in the first half with eight of his 13 points and several hustle plays, while Chris Ortiz and Khaliq Spicer gave the Flashes a spark early on while Jackson and Brewer struggled to get going offensively. But it was Kent's tenacious defense and all-out hustle that made this one KSU's nearly from the outset.
*Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Devareaux Manley broke Kent's all-time 3-point shooting record. He is in fact second on that list now.