Thornton leaving game leaves Huskies with no floor general


Zulfiqar Ahmed

Junior guard Kaleb Thornton controls the tempo of the game during Jan. 18 83-92 loss to Bowling Green. (Zulfiqar Ahmed | Northern Star)

By DeOndre Saunders, Sports Reporter

Men’s basketball couldn’t snap the Kent State University Golden Flashes win streak, falling 63-55 Tuesday at home.

How it happened

Junior guard Kaleb Thornton left the game with 12 minutes left in the first half after an awkward landing. He would come back to the game on crutches and wearing a boot. 

NIU and Kent State went head to head in the first half, trading the lead back-and-forth eight times. The Huskies biggest lead was by five points, 17-12 with 8:59 left. The Golden Flashes’ biggest lead was by seven points, 25-32 with eight seconds left in the half.

NIU didn’t shoot well in the first half shooting 32.1% from the field and 14.3% from the three-pointer. The Huskies did a great job scoring points in the paint as they had 16 points in the paint. 

Kent State redshirt junior guard Sincere Carry was a great contributor for the Golden Flashes as he shot 6-for-8 from the free-throw line. Kent State redshirt senior forward Justyn Hamilton was also a contributor as he went 4-for-4 from the field with eight points.

The Huskies were down at the half, 32-25. Sophomore guard Keshawn Williams led the Huskies in scoring with seven points. Carry led all scorers with 10 points.

The Golden Flashes came out of the half scoring as they went on a 6-0 run from 16:45- 16:03 to take their biggest lead of the game at 13, 42-29.  

NIU continued to battle in the second half as they shot 43.5% from the field. Williams had nine points in the second half. Senior forward Chinedu Kingsley Okanu came off the bench, adding eight points in the second half.

Despite a good second-half shooting performance, Kent State has extended its winning streak to 11 games in a row. 

Carry led all scorers with 22 points and finished the game 11-for-15 from the free throw line. Williams led the Huskies in scoring with 16 points. 

Thoughts from coach Burno

Burno’s thoughts on the offense in the first half:

“We didn’t do our job on the offensive end and it’s hard to beat any team when your shooting 32% in a half,” Burno said.

On what was the team’s biggest issue:

“It hurt not having Thornton out there because he facilitates the floor and helps guys such as Keshawn get easy baskets,” Burno said.

The end result

NIU’s record is now 8-21 overall and has a record of 5-14 in the Mid-American Conference. Kent State is now 20-9 overall and 15-4 in the MAC.

The Huskies will resume action Friday as they play their final game of the season at home against Ohio University. Tune into ESPN+ 7 p.m. CT.