When the buzzer finally sounded Tuesday night, the Kent State Golden Flashes fell to the Buffalo Bulls 82-69, extending KSU’s losing skid to four games.
The loss left the Flashes in a bad place, joining the likes of the Bowling Green Falcons (a team that’s not used to winning, period), Central Michigan Chippewas (the team of Marcus Keene and no one else) and the Miami RedHawks (seven freshman on the roster AND a lame duck head coach? Pass.) as teams currently at 1-4 in the conference.
In conference games this season, Kent State has shown lapses on both ends of the court, as the team has a league-high 90 turnovers and has a -3.6 turnover margin per game, while MAC teams have been able to score on the defense with a .481 shooting percentage in the five games played.
That’s not to say that the Flashes haven’t had good performances this season in conference play; Jaylin Walker averages 16 points per game with 16 made treys, while Jimmy Hall is a double-double machine with 17.2 points and ten rebounds per game.
It’s hard to believe that a team that went down to Austin and upset Texas on its home court less than a month ago is the same team that turned the ball over 14 times at Western Michigan and lost, but that is exactly who Kent State is right now.
The Flashes need to be more efficient on the offensive end in terms of possession and ball movement while also being more aggressive and drawing fouls, as they are pretty good at the charity stripe during MAC play with the third-best free throw percentage in the league at 73.8 percent as a unit.
KSU will have to snap out of their funk real quick as the next five games could very well determine the Flashes season. The Flashes hosta stout Toledo team that’ll give them fits on Saturday, and then has to go on the road to take on a surprising, yet tough Northern Illinois squad.
KSU then returns home for a nationally-televised meeting with a Central Michigan group that can be dangerous when it puts everything together before rounding out an already-tough stretch with away contests against a really good Eastern Michigan team and a young, but talented Miami program.
If the team can survive these five games with a winning record and figure out a way to fix their sub-par play, the Flashes could put together a serious run for Cleveland.
That’s a big if at the moment, though.