Kent State Golden Flashes 73, EMU 58: Kent’s big men dominate
That was a horribly ugly second half, and we have some ugly final stats to go with it.
Yeah, it’s ugly. EMU was outshot by 14% eFG%, outrebounded by 10%, and Kent State shot many more free throws. The Eagles did have a big turnover advantage, but it was nowhere near enough to overcome the rest of that.
For EMU, James Thompson had a nice 14-point, 10-rebound performance before he fouled out, while Lee had 15 points and Willie Mangum had 12.
The problem was Kent State’s big men. Khaliq Spicer exploded for 21 points and 13 rebounds, Jimmy Hall had 13 and 7, and Chris Ortiz added 12 and 5. The problem for EMU was that, while James Thompson is solid at both ends of the court, Nazione is a liability on offense. He played most of the first half, while EMU led, but once Kent State made it a game, Murphy subbed for more offense, which left Thompson basically alone to defend the paint. Kent State’s big men exploited that, scoring 46 points — 26 in the second half — and getting Thompson fouled out. Part of that (the technical foul) is on Thompson, but I have no doubt that even without that he’d have fouled out shortly.
And that’s really the problem with this team right now. They’re one solid — not great, mind you, just solid — center or power forward away from a vastly different season. Someone like Lekan Ajayi, who transferred out. Someone like Khaliq Spicer, who played high school ball in Dearborn Heights but left the state of Michigan for Kent State.
With tonight’s loss, EMU falls to 10-10, and 2-5 in the MAC. I’ll remind you that against NCAA Division I opponents, the Eagles are just 6-10. This Saturday, the Eagles will play at another not-quite-.500 team, when they travel to Kalamazoo to face Western Michigan.