Senior night spoiled for men's basketball in nail-biting fashion
Down two points with 9.7 seconds to go, CMU had the ball and one final chance to tie or win the game. Ralph Bissainthe got the last touch but was unable to score the game tying bucket.
In a competitive match where the stakes and tempers were high, the Kent State Golden Flashes were able to squeeze by in a 73-71 victory over CMU.
CMU (7-20, 6-10) did not get the win but remain in the eight seed in the Mid-American Conference, while Kent State (19-9, 14-4) extended their win streak to 10 games.
Three Chippewas, in Ralph Bissainthe, Harrison Henderson and Cam Healy, were recognized for their accomplishments as student athletes for Senior Night.
As the clock ticked closer and closer to zero, both teams felt the pressure of what was needed to win. Kent State guard Sincere Carry was able to complete an “and-one” play to secure the game with 25 seconds left in regulation.
Healy had the hot hand as he put up Chippewas season high 32 points on 50% shooting, made 7-15 from the three and added two steals.
“It came down my preparation for the game today,” said Healy. “I was just trying to be more aggressive today and I felt confident.”
While CMU was unable to secure victory, their defense play and three point-shooting kept the game close throughout the night.
Henderson had 16 points on 5-10 from the field with five rebounds and freshman Kevin Miller put up 10 points and eight assists.
The Chippewas consistently pressed Kent State off the inbound on throughout the game and their 2-3 zone proved to be an effective way to stop the Golden Flashes on offense.
“The group that we currently have on the floor, that’re paying and healthy, are fighting their tails off for the full 40 minutes whether we’re winning or losing the game and they’re doing it on the defensive end of the floor,” said Barbee.
Kent State shot only 39% from the field with only 5-for-27 from beyond the arc. CMU was 40.7% from the field and 11-for-27 from the three. The biggest disparity was in rebounding as the Golden Flashes dominated the boards with 46 compared to the Chippewas 33.
“For a good offensive team, we slowed them down, and made them stagnant, but the one thing we couldn’t do is we couldn’t protect our own backboard,” said Barbee. “The defensive possession is not over until you secure the rebound."
Kent State forward Andrew Garcia completed a double-double with 21 points off 7-9 from the field, seven completed free-throws and the game high 10 rebounds.
Before the half, intensity rose as the competitive nature of the game turned into verbal competition, CMU guard Kevin Miller and Kent State guard Malique Jacobs were issued a double technical. Jacobs was later issued a second technical and therefore was ejected.
“It’s the nature of competition between two high level teams that’re both playing for something,” said Barbee.
At the end of the game many Kent State players came off the bench to jab at the Chippewas as well as some of the coaching staff.
“We didn’t initiate all the chatter, that started before any fans were in the building,” said Barbee. “We were just going through our normal layup line, stretching on the floor, and they were being very disrespectful walking through our personnel.”
A chippy game that let each team show who they were looked like a blooming bud for a potential future rivalry.
The Chippewas are set to play their last game of the season against Miami (Ohio) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at McGuirk Arena.