Cardinals beat back Kent State in Worthen 82 to 70

Cardinals beat back Kent State in Worthen

by: Steven Stremming

photos by: Rick McIntyre/Excel H Sports

The Cardinals beat back Kent State’s Mens’ basketball team, Tuesday night in Worthen Arena in Muncie, Indiana behind a collective team effort 82 to 70.

And that is exactly what it would take to down the Kent State Flashes, who came into the tussle with identical first place MAC record as Toledo, both 12-2 with Akron holding down third and the homestanding Cards in fourth.

Head coach Michael Lewis’ Cards came out with a wheelbarrow full of effort and quickly grabbed the lead before a furious comeback by the Flashes, which resulted when a buzzer beater three gave them a single point cushion at the break, 33 to 32 before an ESPN + audience.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, the Cards were again determined to play with high energy, rebound on both ends of the floor, hit three’s from behind the arc, drive the ball in the paint and play a strong first half.

New Castle, Indiana’s Luke Bumbalough was inserted into the lineup and played to his potential and then some, as he passed deftly to Payton Sparks for thunderous dunks and found fellow guard Demarius Jacobs for jumpers and hit from three on two occasions in the first half. Bumbalough would score a season-high thirteen points on five of seven from the conventional two-point version and three of five behind the arc, while assisting on four more Card buckets while committing only one turnover in over 35 minutes of floor time.

Payton Sparks was another Card whose energy was needed throughout the game, with an offensive rebound minded effort and poise in the paint in a very physical game. Sparks would collect yet another double-double as he scored eleven points but hauled in a team high 12 rebounds, that included three offensive boards.

While steady Jarron Coleman would have an off night from the field, he was aggressive and ended up with nine out of ten charity tosses and a team leading eight assists.

Jihad Basheer inserted himself into the game with purpose and once again showed the Cardinal faithful of the promise that brought him to Muncie. Basheer would score thirteen points, which included a perfect night at the free throw line (six of six) and hauled in six boards himself.

The largest contribution of the night belonged to Jaylin Sellers, who single handedly brought the Card faithful into a frenzy of loud cheering as he scored the first seven points of the second half, that included two thunderous dunks that gave the Cards the lead they would maintain for the rest of the contest.

Sellers would lead the team with 20 points on seven of nine field goals, five of five from the line before exiting the game with fouls.

Kent State, on the other hand, showed why they are a top team in the MAC as they played toe to toe with the Cardinals throughout the game until the Cards’ Seller explosion.

Sincere Cary, regarded a topflight guard in the MAC, scored through sheer determination 21 points and collected six rebounds for the game. Miryne Thomas also tallied thirteen points and Malique Jacobs would add eighteen on seven of thirteen from the field and team lead with three assists.

For the game the Cards would outrebound the Flashes 38 to 27 with both teams securing eleven offensive rebounds, Ball State would shoot a solid 49% percent from the floor (24 of 49) while the Flashes would shoot 40.7% (24 of 59).

The game difference was the fact, the Cards tallied eighteen assists to the Flashes six.

At the end of the night, Toledo would secure first place with a 13 and 2 MAC mark, while Kent State would slide into second with a 12 and 3 mark, while Ball State would move into third with a 11 and 4 mark tied with Akron in the ever fight to the top of the Mid American conference.


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