CLEVELAND - What has been a season with mixed results continued with another bump in the road for the Cleveland State men's basketball team which concluded its non-conference portion of its schedule with a sound 72-55 setback to visiting Kent State before 2,847 at the Wolstein Center.
"I can tell you that it came down to us missing 13 free throws and turning the ball over 17 times," said Cleveland State coach Gary Waters. "In all my years, I have never had a team lose games this way. And I bet all 17 turnovers were unforced and I think seven were on traveling calls. (The opponent) doesn't even have to play defense when you have traveling turnovers."
For the Vikings, it was falling behind early, making a rally to cut a KSU 19-point lead to just two at 43-41 before the Flashes ran away to a 20-point lead to cruise to the 17-point win.
Both teams began 2013 with 8-5 records.The Kent wins pushed the Flashes to 9-5 while the Vikings dropped their fourth in six outings to fall to 8-6.
"We were able to get good looks because we moved the ball," countered Kent State coach Rob Senderoff, who got 17 points each from Cleveland Glenville graduate Randal Holt and Kris Brewer, who added a team-best six assists. Kent State, winners of four in a row before going on the road to begin Mid-American Conference play, also received 11 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
The Flashes, who had not beaten the Vikings in Holt's three previous seasons, also got eight boards from both Melvin Tabb and Holt while Kent limited Cleveland State to 39% from the field.
"We are 7-1 when we hold our opponents to less than 42%," added Senderoff. "It's about going the extra degree. I remind the guys that the difference in 211 degrees and 212 degrees is at 211 water is hot but at 212 it boils. We need to go that extra degree. When we do we can be good. If we don't we can be very average. We have the players to be very good."
For Cleveland State, the 17 turnovers were key with point guard Charlie Lee guilty of five to go with his 1-for-8 shooting.
"We have to have Charlie score," said Waters. "He has to figure things out. We win when he plays well. This team has got to want it. We have to determine if its personnel or fundamentals. It's a matter of consistancy and fundamentals. We're going to be good down the road."
The Vikings got a team-best 12 points from bench player Bryn Forbes while the team's only senior, Tim Kamczyc added 10 in a game that also say the Strongsville graduate pick up a technical after he blocked a Kent State shot.
"It wasn't anything I said that isn't part of basketball and nothing worse than anything (Kent players) were saying and doing like slamming the basketball to the floor," said Kamczyc, who finished by blocking three Kent shots.
Like Waters, Kamczyc looked to the immediate future that saw the Vikings leave right after the game for Valparaiso, Indiana for a Friday game with Valparaiso to open the Horizon League schedule against the pre-season favorite Crusaiders.
"We have to learn from our mistakes and realize that our conference season is a new beginning and about to start," added the Viking senior.
Kent pushed its record in the series with Cleveland State to 26-22 and snapped a 3-game slide to the Vikings.
"We told (Cleveland native) Randal (Holt) we were going to get him a win against Cleveland State," said Kent's Darren Goodson, who joined Bryson Pope with eight points each for the Flashes.
Holt, a senior, now has a win to go with those three consecutive losses to Cleveland State.