With the win, Kent State improves to 6-1 on the season, while the Titans fell to 3-4.
Walker finished the game with a career-high 36 points on 10-of-24 shooting from the floor(41.6 percent) and 7-of-15 (46.6 percent) from downtown. On his career setting night, Walker added a team-high six rebounds. Senior Jalen Avery finished the game with a game-high five assists and a pair of steals. As a team, the Flashes finished the game with 16 assists to Detroit Mercy's nine.
Kent State's offense started off hot jumping out to an early 9-0 lead, forcing Detroit Mercy to take an early timeout with 17:33 to play in the first half. After the Titan's first bucket, a Detroit Mercy turnover led to an uncontested 3-pointer from Antonio Williams that extended Kent State's lead,14-2. With 8:48 left to play in the first half, Detroit Mercy used a 5-0 run that closed the Flashes' lead to 23-20, but a shot beyond the arc from CJ Williamson gave the Flashes some breathing room.
The Titans answered back after a 6-0 run that gave them their first lead of the game, 29-28, but a three by Walker took back the lead. The Flashes used a 5-0 run that was fueled by Walker after he hit a pair of free throws and back-to-back treys that ended the first half. Kent State walked into the locker-room with a 39-32 lead.
For the half, Walker led the Flashes scoring efforts with 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting (50 percent). As a team, the Flashes shot 14-of-30 (46.7 percent) from the floor and 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) from long range. Kent State did a remarkable job guarding the perimeter and held the 3-point shooting Titan's to only 2-of-9 (22.2 percent) from 3-point range. Kent State won the battle of the boards 20-18 and scored 10 points off Detroit Mercy's seven turnovers.
Detroit Mercy opened the second half with back-to-back shots that tied the game at 39. With five minutes in, Akiean Frederick tipped in his own shot that helped the Flashes pull away, 45-41. Over the course of six minutes left to play, a pair of free throws from Avery stopped the Titan's 16-2 run that put them up 64-60. At the 3:19 mark, the Titan's went up ahead as much as 68-60, but the Flashes began their comeback. Kent State went on to score nine unanswered points that abled the Flashes to take back the lead, 74-72.
During the run, Walker drove to the hoop and tossed in a layup while getting fouled and made his free throw shot. Walker then hit a deep 3-pointer that capped his career-high point which put the Flashes within four, 72-68.
With 1:09 left to play, Walker repeated as he hit another shot beyond the arc that brought Kent State within one, 72-71. As time played on, Frederick was fouled with 29.6 ticks to play and hit two crucial free throws that gave the Flashes a 73-72 lead. The game closed with no one better than Walker who hit two final free throws that secured the 76-72 comeback victory.
For the game, the Flashes shot 23-of-62 (37.1 percent) from the field and 10-of-31 (32.3 percent) from 3-point range. In the battle of the boards, Kent State outrebounded the Titans 47-35 with 20 offensive rebounds.
Kent State is back in action Saturday, Dec. 1as the Flashes take on Norfolk State at the M.A.C. Center at 4 p.m.
(Courtesy of KSU Athletics)