The Golden Flashes looked like the potential top

By Allen Moff Record-Courier staff writer Published:

The Golden Flashes looked like the potential top 25 team that's captured national attention at times, but also stumbled through various lulls and lapses while rolling over outmanned Division II Mercyhurst 90-68 Monday night at the M.A.C. Center.

And that's usually how game one goes, even for a predominantly veteran squad with high aspirations like Kent State.

"There's just something about playing that first game," said Flashes senior star Trevor Huffman, shaking his head somewhat in disgust. "You always go through ups and downs. You don't defend as well as you'd like. It's hard to be patient and look for better shots when you get that first open look. No matter what you do, you're never satisfied."

Rookie head coach Stan Heath and his troops certainly weren't content with their opening day showing, especially on the defensive end.

The unheralded Lakers (2-1) had no trouble generating open shots in the paint or from 3-point range in the first 10 minutes, when they produced 23 points and trailed by just two.

"The most disappointing part of the game to me was definitely our defense," said Heath. "We gave them too many open looks. We didn't fight for position inside, and we didn't get a hand up on their shooters. Defense has to be a staple with this team."

Concerns on offense centered around Kent State's apparent lack of interest in pounding the ball inside against undersized Mercyhurst's zone. The Flashes hoisted a whopping 29 3-pointers on the night, including 17 in the first half alone.

"I don't see that being a norm, but I also didn't think many of (the 3-pointers) were bad shots," said Heath, whose squad buried 10 long-range bombs. "We have good shooters on this team, and I'm not going to handicap them. But I also think teams here in the past have been guard-oriented, and didn't really look to throw the ball inside. That's something I need to stress more."

While Heath's Flashes may need some fine-tuning, they're potential also oozed out on occasion during Monday's opener _ especially during a near seven-minute stretch midway through the second half, when they clicked on virtually all cylinders.

Kent State picked up the intensity on both ends of the floor behind Huffman (17 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds), senior backcourt mate Andrew Mitchell (team-high 18 points, 7 assists, 5 boards), senior strongman Demetric Shaw and junior newcomer Antonio Gates during a 19-4 run that turned a somewhat competitive 65-44 game into an 82-48 rout.

Even centers John Edwards (8 points, 3 rebounds) and Nate Gerwig (8 points, 4 rebounds) got into the act offensively, after struggling throughout the first half.

"There was a stretch in the second half where we really looked good," said Heath. "That gave me a glimpse of how good we can be."

Flashes fans caught a peek at their new power forward, Gates, who turned in an impressive debut performance with 13 points and 11 rebounds in 27 highly active minutes.

"I'm just trying to provide some energy, since I'm the new guy," said Gates. "I just try to focus on doing what coach (Heath) wants done."

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E-mail: amoff@recordpub.net

Phone: (330) 678-5460

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Kent State 90, Mercyhurst 68

(At M.A.C. Center)

MERCYHURST

NAME MIN FG 3-PT FT RB PF A TP

Marshall 25 3-4 0-0 0-0 1 1 0 6

Helm 31 5-11 0-0 6-7 4 3 2 16

Melle 31 9-19 3-5 2-2 5 2 1 23

Shouse 31 5-13 2-6 0-0 3 0 3 12

Steuer 19 0-1 0-0 0-0 3 1 2 0

Fleckenstein 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 1 0

Horner 20 2-6 0-3 0-0 2 2 1 4

Delsandro 16 1-2 0-1 2-2 1 0 2 4

Carr 12 0-0 0-0 0-0 4 2 0 0

Jankus 11 1-1 1-1 0-0 1 1 0 3

Burke 2 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

_____________________________________________

Totals 200 26-58 6-16 10-11 27 12 12 68

KENT STATE

NAME MIN FG 3-PT FT RB PF A TP

Shaw 22 3-9 1-4 0-1 4 2 0 7

Gates 27 5-9 0-0 3-5 11 2 0 13

Edwards 10 4-5 0-0 0-0 3 1 0 8

Mitchell 31 8-15 2-8 0-0 5 1 7 18

Huffman 36 6-10 3-7 2-3 5 1 9 17

Gerwig 16 4-6 0-0 0-0 4 1 0 8

Merritt 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Haut 6 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 1 0

Wilkins 18 3-6 3-5 0-1 4 1 2 9

Bedford 16 4-6 1-2 1-1 1 0 2 10

Thomas 14 0-3 0-2 0-0 2 2 1 0

Pellegrino 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 1 0 0

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Totals 200 37-70 10-29 6-11 43 12 22 90

MERCYHURST 39 29 _ 68

KENT STATE 52 38 _ 90

Blocked Shots _ Mercyhurst (1): Melle 1; Kent State (2): Edwards 1, Huffman 1. Turnovers _ 15-15. Technical fouls _ None. Attendance _ 4,216.

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