February 13, 2008

Fisher's 28 gives Kent State its 10th straight 20-win season

Mt. Pleasant, Mich.- The Kent State men's basketball team has had 20 or more victories for the last nine seasons, one of nine teams to do so nationally.
Make that 10 straight seasons now.

Behind a career-high 28-point scoring outburst by junior guard Al Fisher, the Flashes (20-5, 9-2 MAC) handled Central Michigan Tuesday, 79-66, at Rose Arena. They join Duke (21-1, ranked No. 2 in the nation) and Kansas (23-1, ranked no. 3 in the nation) as the only 20 game-winners this season in the prestigious club.

"Not a lot of programs can say that they have done what we are doing right now," Kent State coach Jim Christian said. "I think it is going to be one of those things that is going to stand the test of time."

The previous Mid-American Conference record for 20-win seasons was five.

Yet to reach the milestone on this night the Flashes had to withstand a punishing Chippewas' team that is known for its "hounding defensive pressure," according to a Central Michigan press release.

A pressure so intense that CMU (10-13, 5-6 MAC) ranks second in the nation in fouls per game (24.6). The Chips wasted little time mixing it up. Justin Blevins, a 6-foot-7 senior center and Kent State senior forward Haminn Quaintance had words forcing technical fouls on each around the eight-minute mark of the first half.

Moments later Blevins threw Kent State forward Isaac Knight to the ground during a rebound attempt, smiling afterward. Sophomore guard Jordan Mincy took exception forcing the officials to separate the players and call a coaches meeting at center court.

Central Michigan head coach Ernie Zeigler responded to the meeting by being very animated and high-fiving Blevins on the bench.

Zeigler was eventually hit with a double technical with 1:10 remaining in the game. He slammed his clipboard to the ground and stormed off the court. Both teams finished the game with 24 personal fouls.

"I'm going to fight for these kids," Zeigler said. "When I ask these kids to battle and fight and push and fight; I'm going to battle for them. When I see and feel they are being wronged I'm going to fight for them… at some point, I have to battle for my kids. That's what I am going to be. Right, wrong or indifferent; some may disagree. That's who I am and that's who I am going to be."

The Flashes carried a six-point lead into halftime despite losing starters Mike Scott, Chris Singletary and Quaintance to foul trouble.

Fisher was able to avoid foul trouble as he paced the Flashes throughout the game. He attacked the rim and used his five-foot floater to keep the Chips at bay. His 28-points is a career high. He also grabbed seven rebounds and had seven assists.

"He's just getting better and better," Christian said. "(CMU) is an aggressive, over playing team so there is driving lanes and Al was able to take advantage of the them tonight. He drove the ball strong to the basket, which he hasn't done in previous games."

Midway through the second half, Kent State junior forward Julian Sullinger and CMU forward Nate Minnoy were hit with offsetting technical fouls for a verbal spat.

Game NOTES:

  • Al Fisher's previous career high was 21 points
  • Haminn Quaintance now has 1,251 points, 834 rebounds, 273 assists, 252 blocks and 201 steals
  • The Golden Flashes have won 17 straight when scoring over 70 points


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