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Elite Eight Team Members Remember Excitement Of Winning in 2002 NCAA Tournament
Fifteen years after Kent State’s Men’s Basketball team became the darlings of the NCAA Tournament, those who played and cheered for that team are remembering the excitement.
The Golden Flashes won the Mid-American Conference Tournament and entered March Madness as a #10 seed; most expected they would lose their first game and certainly wouldn’t advance far.
Instead, Kent State knocked off Oklahoma State, Alabama, and Pittsburgh on its way to an improbable appearance in the Elite 8. The Golden Flashes' 21-game winning streak finally ended with an 81-69 loss to Indiana, the eventual tournament runner-up.
The 2001-02 team finished 30-6 and was led by seniors Trevor Huffman, Andrew Mitchell, Demetric Shaw, and Eric Thomas and junior transfer Antonio Gates. Stan Heath was the head coach but departed for the University of Arkansas following Kent State’s historic run.
As the #14-seed Golden Flashes team prepares to play #3-seed UCLA in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament, players from that Elite 8 team are weighing in.
Eric Haut, a current assistant coach with the Golden Flashes, fondly remember the excitement in 2002 and believes this current team has the right mix of talent and experience to be successful.
Shaw is in California for the game, and weighed in on Facebook.
Kent State plays UCLA Friday in Sacramento, California with tip-off set for 9:57 p.m. EDT. The game will be broadcast on TruTV.