KENT, Ohio – Galal Cancer scored a career-high 24 points and Kent State's defense shut down Western Michigan in overtime to secure an 85-78 victory on Tuesday night at the M.A.C. Center.
The Golden Flashes also needed overtime to beat the Broncos in the Mid-American Conference opener in Kalmazoo on Jan. 5.
Western's Thomas Wilder forced another extra session this time around on a driving layup with 1.1 seconds remaining in regulation. From there, KSU held Western to just 1-for-6 shooting from the field.
"This was a huge win for us and . . .
Cancer's 6-of-10 from three-point range led the way as the Flashes shot 50-percent from beyond the arc (13-for-26).
"I'm just shooting with confidence right now," Cancer said. "They're not all going to go in, but that comes with getting extra shots. I felt good shooting today, and am glad I could help our team get a win."
Kent State built a 42-36 lead at halftime behind sizzling shooting by Cancer, who missed just one of his seven shots before the break while drilling four threes.
The final two threes by Cancer broke Kent State out of a nearly nine-minute scoring drought that saw Western Michigan turn a 12-point deficit after the first minute of the second half into a 68-64 lead with 2:42 to play.
Cancer drilled a 22-footer from the top of the key with 2:32 to play, then vaulted the Flashes back into the lead when Kellon Thomas found him for a corner three in transition at the 1:38 mark.
Thomas (15 points, 5 assists), Deon Edwin (13 points, 6 rebounds) and Chris Ortiz (13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) gave KSU five players scoring in double-figures in a balanced scoring attack that looked to the perimeter for the bulk of its scoring. The Flashes finished with just 18 points in the paint after a 50-point effort inside during the first meeting in Kalamazoo.
Wilder led Western Michigan with 24 points. Anthony Avery added 12 for the Broncos, while Tucker Haymond and Kellen McCormick added 11 each.
Kent State hosts first-place rival Akron on Friday for a 6 p.m. tip-off to be televised on ESPNU.
"Every game is big, but we have to take care of business at home," Senderoff said. "I thought the crowd was great tonight and really bothered them at the foul line late in the game. Akron is a really good team, and we are going to need another great crowd to help us get a win."
Western Michigan hosts Central Michigan Saturday (2 p.m. ET).
Kent State hosts Akron Friday (6 p.m. ET)
(Courtesy of KSU Athletics)