Saturday, March 23, 2002

Kent State polishes a new national image

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Kent State University began spring break at 5 p.m. Friday. But the revelry began a night early.

[photo] A student walks past a Kent State dormitory window emblazoned with a curse against Indiana.
(Associated Press photo)
| ZOOM |
        Fans filled campus streets late Thursday night when the Golden Flashes won an overtime game in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Having gone as far as any Mid-American Conference team ever has, KSU plays Indiana at 7 tonight in Lexington, Ky., for a berth in the Final Four.

        “Whenever we're referred to out of state, everyone says, "Is that where the shootings happened?” said Emily Shurtz, 24, a senior from East Liverpool, Ohio. “Now it's, "Your basketball team is great; you rock.'”

        KSU's national reputation had been shaped by the 1970 shooting deaths of four student protesters by the National Guard.

        The men's team didn't make the NCAAs until 1999, but it upset Indiana in the tournament's first round last year.

        The school had a dorm-decorating contest Thursday, then fans gathered before TVs in the student center and restaurants to watch KSU play Pittsburgh. When the game ended, students poured out into the night to whoop it up.


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