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April 18, 2024

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Men’s basketball overcomes early deficit against Kent State

The Falcon men’s basketball team defeated the Kent State Golden Flashes 70-62 Saturday afternoon, coming back from being down 19 points early on.

“I thought our guys played extremely hard in both halves,” Falcons head coach Michael Huger said. “We dug ourselves a hole in the first half, and we were able to come out of it with our defense. We did a great job on the defensive end to bring us back into the game.”

The game began with Kent State getting an early 11-0 lead on three field goals, a pair of free throws and a three pointer before the Falcons called a timeout to try to regroup. While the team was able to briefly make a comeback on a dunk by junior forward Demajeo Wiggins followed by a 3-pointer from sophomore guard Rodrick Caldwell, Kent State regained their momentum, eventually taking a 29-10 lead with five minutes remaining in the first half.

“I was thinking that we’ve got to get stops,” Huger said. “If we get stops, we could get out in transition, and we’re at our best when we’re out in transition. We stayed in the half court and we got stagnant in moving the ball, and the ball stuck a little bit.”

However, the Falcons were able to get back into the game on a pair of 3-pointers by freshman guard Justin Turner. Turner also got a layup and a pair of successful free throws to cut the lead down to 29-20. The Falcons were able to close the gap to just seven before halftime, as Kent State still held a 31-24 lead.

“We had some games where we (got behind early) and we wound up losing by 30 points,” Huger said. “I thought today we fought back, and at the end of the first half, we had 13 stops out of 15 possessions, so we did a great job to end the half to cut it to within seven.”

The second half started well for the Falcons, as a pair of layups from Turner and Wiggins and a 3-pointer from Lillard cut the Kent State lead down to just two. However, the Falcons were unable to retake the lead until late in the game, despite tying it up with 12:31 left to go. Kent State was able to maintain a slim lead until 5:54 to go, when a jumper by Turner gave the Falcons their first lead of the game. From then on, the team was able to pull away with a layup, free throw and 3-pointer from senior guard Matt Fox, a lead the team was able to stabilize to win 70-62.

“Everything came off of our transition and getting stops on the defensive end,” Huger said. “Everything with us starts with our defense. If we’re really good defensively, we tend to be good offensively, and that’s what it was today.”

The team will next play on Tuesday night on the road against the Ball State Cardinals.

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