The Golden Flashes (8-4) led by as many as six points and found themselves ahead on the scoreboard for most of the first half before a late run allowed Kansas to take a 39-33 advantage into the break. The Jayhawks extended that lead to 21 after intermission as Kent State struggled from the field, missing its first seven shots of the second half and hitting just 10-of-31 in the final 20 minutes.
"We played very hard and, for about 28 minutes, we were right there," said Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff. "There was about a three-minute stretch where I thought it got away from us.
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Kent State found a difficult time generating offense as Jimmy Hall spent long stretches of both halves on the bench in foul trouble. Hall hit six of his first seven shots before committing his second foul with just over five minutes to play before halftime. The sophomore finished the night with team highs of 13 points and eight rebounds.
Kansas freshman Kelly Oubre, Jr. kept Kent State from building a bigger first-half lead, scoring 16 points before intermission on a perfect 6-for-6 performance that included four three-pointers. Oubre finished with a game-high 20 points after coming into the night averaging just 5.7 points per game.
Perry Ellis and Frank Mason III added 15 and 14 points, respectively, for the Jayhawks, who improved to 10-2 on the season. Ellis also grabbed eight rebounds as Kansas won the rebounding battle, 44-31.
Kansas also enjoyed big advantages with points in the paint (44-26) and on the fast break (19-0).
Khaliq Spicer scored a career-high 11 points to help the Kent State cause. Spicer also blocked four shots, matching his career-high and the most by a Kansas opponent this season.
Kris Brewer added 10 points and led an early run with back-to-back threes as the Flashes built their six-point lead.
Derek Jackson scored seven points while dishing out a game-high eight assists. He also pulled down seven rebounds from the guard position.
The Flashes found some late excitement as 7-foot-4 senior Blake Vedder drilled a three from above the key. Vedder added a 15-footer from the left baseline to finish with five points.
Kent State returns home Friday for a 7 p.m. game against Texas Pan-American that will close the non-conference season. The Mid-American Conference opener arrives on Jan. 7 when Bowling Green visits the M.A.C. Center
(Courtesy of KSU Athletics/MRO Edit)