Kent State head coach Geno Ford, in his third season at the helm of the Golden Flashes, still has not lost to a MAC West opponent in his tenure at Kent.
Ford and his Golden Flashes handed Ball State its first Mid-American Conference loss of the season, using an 11-0 run midway through the second half to blow the game open and cruising home with a 66-53 victory.
Sophomore Randal Holt, a Bedford graduate, continued his recent torrid shooting from 3-point range, knocking down three triples en route to a game-high 21 points while junior power forward Justin Greene filled the stat sheet, scoring 12 points, pulling down nine rebounds, blocking three shots and collecting five steals. He also held the Cardinalsâ€™ big gun, center Jarrod Jones, to a paltry five points on 1-of-6 shooting from the field. Jones also committed six turnovers.
Junior wing Carlton Guyton added nine points, all from the perimeter, with five rebounds and six assists.
"In the second half we really started moving the ball around well on the perimeter and once Guyton started getting in the lane it opened things up for our shooters on the wing," Holt said. "Once we got the open looks we stepped up and knocked them down."
Ball State (13-6, 5-1) struggled shooting the ball in the second half, shooting just 30 percent from the floor while the Golden Flashes (13-7, 4-2) hit 14-of-25 shots from the floor in the second half (56%). Ford knew points would be at a premium against the stingy Cardinals defense.
"Ball State ranked first in the league in defense so we knew it was going to be tough to score on them," Ford said. "We tried to pressure them because we thought if we were fortunate to force a couple of turnovers and get the game moving up and down we might be able to steal a couple of easy baskets in transition. Once we scored some points by getting out on the break it started to build confidence in our shooters."
The game was tied 4-4 early when Holt hit his first 3-pointer to give Kent a 7-4 lead. The Golden Flashes would never trail again, building the lead to as many as 16 points in the second half when their 11-0 run that started with just over 10 minutes left turned a 46-41 game into a Kent romp.
Senior Rodriguez Sherman, an Indianapolis native playing in front of a throng of family and friends, added 15 points for Kent with four rebounds and three assists.
Malik Perry paced Ball State with 12 points and nine rebounds while Chris Bond added 12 points.
Kent, in a four-way tie for first in the MAC East with a 4-2 conference record, returns home to host Toledo (4-16, 1-5) for a 2 p.m. tipoff from the MAC Center. The game will be broadcast in high definition on SportsTime Ohio.