March 13, 2008
Flashes cruise to easy victory in MAC Quarterfinals
Cleveland, OH-- Three minutes into the second half of Kent State's Mid American Conference Quarterfinal game against Toledo senior center Haminn Quaintance toed the free throw line and launched a shot. He missed the rim. The ball didn't even touch the net. Quaintance smiled and stroked the next one with ease.
Fortunately, it was the only real miscue for the top-seeded Flashes as they cruised to an easy 77-57 victory over an outmatched Toledo team Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
"I thought for the most part we came out focused, played hard defensively in the first half," Kent State coach Jim Christian said. "A lot of shots were challenged, our rotations were good and we got in a pretty good rhythm offensively."
Unlike the regular season meeting between the two teams--when Kent State lost on a last second dunk by Tyrone Kent; the game never really seemed in doubt.
"I thought we just came to play tonight," Christian said. "The first time I don't think we came to play."
Toledo was straddled with foul trouble early crippling its top three players: Kent, Jonathan Amos and Jerrah Young. Only nine Rockets dressed for the contest as well.
While Young and Kent both ended the first half with three fouls, Amos picked up his fourth on a desperation heave by Jordan Mincy at the halftime buzzer.
Mincy missed all three free throws, but the long term damage hurt more as the Flashes took a 39-29 lead into the locker room.
"(The foul trouble) kind of came all at once,'' Toledo coach Stan Joplin said. "That's one reason we tried to play zone (the second half) to keep those guys in the game as long as we possibly could. It was the longest we played zone all year, thinking if we could just chip away at the lead, we'd have a shot. But we never could because Kent kept making plays.''
The Flashes opened the second half with its two seniors taking charge early. Senior Mike Scott spiked the ball through the rim to start the quarter.
Then Quaintance ripped the ball away from a Toledo player and kicked the ball to Scott. Scott fired the ball back to Quaintance for an easy lay-up. "Q" then tipped in a Al Fisher miss to end the six-point swing and give the Flashes a 43-29 lead.
"He played a heck of a game today," Christian said. "'Q' does a lot of things out there."
The MAC Defensive Player of the Year blocked three shots and picked up six rebounds and three assists, as well as scoring nine points in the contest.
Perhaps one of the most important stats, as far as Kent State is concerned, is the amount of players Christian was able to cycle in.
Juniors Julian Sullinger and Rashad Woods were into the game early and often giving the starters much need breathers during a weekend where the Flashes could, theoretically, have a game Saturday as well.
Nine players saw at least 10 minutes of action. Woods made the best of his time by stroking three 3-pointers.
Scott led all scorers with a career-high 23 points and one monster dunk over Toledo's Anthony Byrd. Scott, who celebrated his 22nd birthday Thursday, posterized Byrd with a left-handed stuff.
"As a senior you have to lead your team, you have to show your team through actions and verbally that you're not scared," Scott said. "We're not going to lose this game, if I have anything to do with it."
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