Sunday, December 6, 2015

Kent State 66, Cleveland State 62: Waters conducts team meeting after Vikings' loss

Edwards scores 14 in loss to Kent State

By Tom Mieskoski

Following a 66-62 loss to Kent State on Saturday afternoon at the Q, Cleveland State head coach Gary Waters held a team meeting that lasted about an hour.

The loss to the Golden Flashes marked CSU's fourth straight defeat and fifth in the last six games.

"A lot of stuff went on in there," said Waters, whose squad dropped to 2-6. "The biggest culmination was that we let a team out tough us out there. And I think that cost us the game. I'm talking about in the paint and offensive rebounds.

"I had to tell them about our team. Our team doesn't have a lot of room for error out there. When you have two guys you are counting on as your main guys, they have to bring it and that didn't happen today. Rob (Edwards) came through, but the other one didn't."
Edwards, the reigning Horizon League Freshmen of the Week, led the Vikings with 14 points. He was 5-of-10 shooting from the floor. The Detroit native has been the Vikings most consistent scorer, posting double figures in four of the last five games

On the season, Edwards is second on the team in scoring, averaging 11.3 points a game.

The player Waters identified as not bringing it on Saturday was junior forward Demonte Flannigan, who leads the team in scoring (11.4 points) and rebounding (5.9 boards).

Against KSU, Flannigan contributed six points and one rebound in 21 minutes.

"Today, we got barely little from Demonte and I thought he could really have been a force in there," said Waters. "If they don't bring it we are going to struggle because we don't have a whole lot of others (who can score)."

KSU's veteran frontcourt exploited its superior height to dominate the interior. They held a 40-30 advantage in points in the paint and a 34-29 edge in rebounding.

Senior center Khaliq Spicer and junior forward Jimmy Hall combined for 36 points and 17 rebounds for the Golden Flashes (4-2).

"We didn't stop them inside," said Waters. "When you give up 40 points in the paint, you're not going to beat many teams."

CSU had no answers on how to stop Spicer in the second half. The 6-foot-9, 230-pound post player scored 15 of his career-high 22 points in the final 20 minutes. He made 9-of-11 shots from the field and also grabbed eight boards.

"Right now teams are shooting 48 to 49 percent against us, that's not me," Waters said. "We usually (hold) teams to 40 percent, but when you score that easily inside you are going to score 49 percent. We got to do a better job there."

KSU shot 49 percent from the field, including a sizzling 56 percent in the second half as 24 of their 38 points in the final 20 minutes came in the paint.

CSU held a 45-44 lead with 10:14 to go, but a coaching decision to switch to a zone defense turned the game in favor of the Golden Flashes.

Coming out of a timeout, KSU switched to the 1-2-1 zone and the decision paid off.  The Golden Flashes went on a 10-1 run to take control of the game.

"They were moving the ball and scoring. We needed to do something to change it," said KSU head coach Rob Senderoff. "(Assistant Eric Haut) said we had to do something other then man-to-man and suggested a 1-3-1 [half-court trapping] zone."

Waters added: "I thought the zone hurt us just enough to get them the lead." 

On the first two possessions against the zone, CSU turned it over. KSU's Chris Ortiz started the run with a steal and coast to coast lay-up that gave the Golden Flashes the lead for good at 46-45.

A Galal Cancer three-pointer in the corner, extended it to 50-45. KSU would built the lead as much as eight in the second half.

The Vikings would cut the lead down to three several times, but never could get that big defensive stop or basket down the stretch.

"We should have won the game," said Waters. "We got to execute down the stretch. Where we are getting killed at is at the defensive end. We are not stopping anyone down the stretch."

CSU made only one of its final seven shots from the field, with the lone field goal being a putback with one second left when they game was already decided.

The Vikings shot 43.6 percent (24-of-55) from the field.

Junior point guard Andre Yates had a season-high 14 points, while senior forward Vinny Zollo contributed 10 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

Yates made 4-of-7 shots from long range. Zollo was 5-of-13 shooting.

"Andre stepped up and we needed that immensely," said Waters.

Hall added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Golden Flashes.

CSU scored the first six points of the game and led by as much as seven in the first half, but a Hall jumper with 29 seconds left, gave KSU a 28-27 advantage at the break.

An 18-13 run to start the second half, gave CSU a 45-41 lead with 11:27 to go, but three straight points from Spicer cut it to 45-44.

Hamilton makes debut: Redshirt junior Myles Hamilton made his long-awaited CSU debut on Saturday. He had two points and three assists in 18 minutes.

The Kennessaw State transfer and St. Edward product missed the first three games due to a suspension for a violation of team rules, then missed the past four games because of a quad injury.

Next up: CSU returns to the Q on Saturday when they host the Ohio University Bobcats.

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