January 7, 2010
Slow starts, no problem
Kent State opened Monday night's game against Norfolk State like it did so many other times this season-slowly. The Golden Flashes found themselves down 15-4 before going on a 16-4 run of their own to take the lead and eventually won, 84-66.
According to junior Rodriquez Sherman, the players were a bit too excited about returning to the M.A.C. Center after three straight road games and playing their final non-conference game before the start of the Mid-American Conference schedule on Saturday.
"I think everybody just had to calm down," said Sherman, who scored a team-high 16 points. "We came back to the huddle, everybody was a little bit, I think we were a little bit excited for the game-the first game before we go into conference."
A bit excited for the game? That's news to head coach Geno Ford.
"Our guys said they were excited?" Ford asked the media after the game. "I thought shoot around was pretty poor today, to be very honest. Maybe they were too excited to play. That would be a newsflash."
Ford did say his players remained confident during Norfolk State's run. But, the coaching staff didn't share their optimism, especially during breaks in the action.
"Those huddles, there's no panic, believe me. We're down 15-4, the only guy panicking is the staff," he said. "We're over there yelling at them and trying to get them going. They feel like, 'We're OK. We're all right. This has happened before. We've come back from this.'"
Ford credits that confidence to the experience his players have. With three seniors and a redshirt junior in the starting lineup, the Golden Flashes have a lot of game experience.
"I think a little bit about that is we've got a veteran team with some guys that have been around and sometimes it's a great thing to have older players," Ford said. "Sometimes it can be tough because they've been through it so much and sometimes they think, 'It will be OK. We'll grind it out; we've been down before.'"
While that attitude has helped the Golden Flashes in the past, Ford knows his team won't always be able to come back from a double-digit lead, especially on the road.
"The plus is they're not in a panic themselves," Ford said. "But, the down side of it is you can't play (like that against) good people on the road. Tonight we were OK because we were at home. If that game was on the road we're probably in big trouble."
Kent State gets its chance to play a good team on the road when they open MAC play on Saturday at Ohio and follow that up with a Tuesday night showdown at Miami.
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