"I couldn't be prouder of this team, and in particular our seniors," said Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff. "You win at this time of year with your seniors. Kris Brewer played with a great deal of heart and poise, and he did it coming off of a tough game on Saturday against Buffalo. He hit big shot after big shot. Our guys refused to quit."
Brewer's big night off the bench came on 8-for-9 shooting from the field and 5-of-6 from three-point range. Every time Kent State found itself in trouble during a Bowling Green run, Brewer or a teammate came up with a big shot.
Manley finished with 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting (5-of-8 from three), Jimmy Hall added 17 points and six rebounds, and Derek Jackson scored 15 while going 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. As a team, Kent State shot 54 percent from the field (28-for-52) and a spectacular 62 percent from three (13-for-21).
Manley and Brewer scored 11 and 9, respectively, in the first half as Kent State took a 41-36 lead into the break. Back-to-back threes by Manley and Jackson to open the second half extended the Flashes lead to 11 points. But that quick spurt was followed by a run that had Bowling Green in the lead for most of final 15 minutes.
Richaun Holmes' 29-points, 9-rebound effort on Senior Night was not enough for Bowling Green. Jehvon Clarke added 12 points and gave the Falcons a six-point lead with 3:47 to play.
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Manley's three with 46 seconds to play came on a broken play out of a timeout, "but Devareaux had the confidence to take and make a tough shot," said Senderoff.
Kent State came up with two more key stops as Hall blocked a layup by Bowling Green's Spencer Parker with 22 seconds left and Clarke missed a running three with five seconds to play.
Two free throws by Hall with three seconds remaining iced the game, giving Kent State an 81-77 lead and turning a buzzer-beating three by Holmes into no consequence.
The win moved the Flashes (20-10, 11-6) into a three-way tie for first place in the Mid-American Conference East Division with Bowling Green and Buffalo. It also put Kent State back into position to earn a bye in next week's MAC Tournament. If the season ended tonight, the Flashes would own the tournament's No. 3 seed and a bye to the quarterfinals. Several scenarios exist that could land Kent State a top-two seed and add another bye to the semis with a home win on Friday over Akron.
(Courtesy of KSU Athletics/MRO Edit)