November 11, 2008

Fisher picks up where he left off

The Kent State men's basketball team coasted to a 72-53 exhibition win over Muskingum Monday night at the M.A.C. Center in Kent.

The Golden Flashes were led by a familiar face as senior Al Fisher scored 21 points, including 19 in a first half that saw KSU take a 41-23 lead at the intermission.

Fisher, the 2007-08 Mid-American Conference Player of the Year, scored on an array of three pointers, floaters in the lane, and lay-ups out in transition.

Playing with just 10 dressed players, the second half brought some sloppy play for both teams, and interesting combinations on the floor for Kent State.

"The game went as our practices have gone in that we played well in stretches," said first year head coach Geno Ford. "This time of year we are just working on getting better everyday."

With three true freshmen on the floor for the better part of the second half, Kent State managed to outscore the Fighting Muskies 31-30. One of the newcomers that was a bright spot was freshman forward Justin Greene.

Greene scored 11 points and attacked the boards aggressively grabbing 9 rebounds, including 6 offensive. Greene led the Flashes in scoring in the second half with 8 points.

"He played really well," Ford said. "He stayed within himself and scored within the offense."

Freshman forward Alex Grimsley contributed 6 rebounds to the cause as well. Point guard Cameron Joyce played well in 15 minutes of action, not committing a turnover and applying nice ball pressure to the Muskingum guards.

Kent State forced Muskingum into 22 turnovers with a defense that was once again triggered by senior guard Jordan Mincy.

The Golden Flashes did however have some turnover problems of their own, committing 15.

Ford sees a lot of room for improvement when he said, "We've got a long way to go. We are nowhere close to a championship team right now".

Kent State will open up the 2008-09 regular season on Monday, November 17 at the M.A.C. Center when they host the North Carolina Central Eagles at 7:00P.M. North Carolina Central is in the midst of their transition to NCAA Division I basketball

Game Notes:

Like Father, Like Son: First year head coach Geno Ford matched up against his father Gene, the head coach at Muskingum on Monday night. When Geno was the head coach at Muskingum for two years from 2005-2007, his father was his assistant coach.

"That was probably much tougher for him than it was for me because one of the great curses of the personality traits I have is I tend to be a little stubborn, so I kind of get in my head what I want to do, and I don't always do a good job of listening to other people," Geno Ford said. "He had been calling the shots for 31 years, so all of a sudden, coming up with something we weren't going to do probably wasn't a whole lot of fun for him."

As for getting together to match up against his son, Gene Ford said, "It was Geno's idea. It's nice of him to reach out and help us a little bit because obviously this opportunity is not presented very often to Division III programs. The kids get really excited. Geno knows a lot of the players. He recruited the senior class, and this was a gesture on his part to give our kids a chance to play in a Division I arena and play against a quality team."

Four Flashes Held Out: Tyree Evans, Anthony Simpson, Chris Singletary and Frank Henry-Ala all were in street clothes for Monday night's exhibition game. The official release from the Kent State Athletic Department read, "Kent State junior guard Tyree Evans and junior forward Anthony Simpson will not dress for Monday night's exhibition with Muskingum due to a delay in the final certification of their eligibility as transfer students. They are being held out of competition while the process is completed to fully ensure Kent State's full compliance with NCAA rules and regulations. Junior Chris Singletary will not dress as a result of his ongoing suspension. He will be in uniform for the Golden Flashes' next game on Nov. 17. Junior Frank Henry-Ala is serving a one-game suspension due to a violation of team rules."

Mr. Clutch: Senior guard Al Fisher picked up right where he left off during the 2007-2008 season when he was the MAC Player of the Year exploding for 19 first half points. The 6-foot-1 native of Pennsauken, New Jersey, who earned a reputation for his late game heroics a season ago, was 7-8 from the field in the first half including 2-2 on three pointers. Fisher also contributed 4 rebounds in the first half and a blocked shot as the first half expired. He finished with 21 points, 8-11 shooting and 5 rebounds in 23 minutes of action, 7 coming in the second half. Fisher apparently rebounded from a pre-season, Geno Ford deemed "sub par."

"Q" back at the M.A.C.C: With so many newcomers on the floor for Kent State, a familiar face appeared behind the Golden Flashes' bench in the second half. Haminn Quaintance, the 2007-2008 MAC Defensive Player of the Year, greeted his former teammates with a big smile on his face. "Q" is playing with Bnei Hasharon of the Israel League.

BP starting at the 5: Junior center Brandon Parks started at the center position for the Golden Flashes and looked improved in his 15 minutes of action. Parks finished with 9 points on 3-5 shooting, with 3 rebounds.

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