MUNCIE, Ind. – Kent State moved into first place into possession of first place in the Mid-American Conference East Division as Xavier Pollard, Kellon Thomas and Khaliq Spicer led the Golden Flashes to a 76-68 road win over MAC West-leading Ball State on Tuesday.
Pollard scored 22 points and Thomas added 20, while Spicer controlled the paint defensively in blocking five shots. The trio were key to Kent State holding on to a second-half lead as foul trouble forced Jimmy Hall to the bench.
Hall added 14 points and four rebounds in just six minutes as the Flashes improved to 13-5 overall and 4-1 in MAC play. Ball State, which lost to KSU for the 13th consecutive meeting, fell to 12-5 (3-1 MAC) after two wins last week.
"Xavier Pollard and Kellon Thomas did . . .
The Cardinals shot just 40 percent from the field (24-for-59), opening the first half by making just one of their first eight shots. They struggled again to start the second half, scoring just two points in the first five minutes.
KSU opened up a 10-point lead early, took a 37-30 lead into the break, then jumped up by as many as 12 points by the 15-minute mark. The Cardinals cut into the lead with three-point shooting, pulling as close as 61-60 with 3:52 to play after a pair of free throws by Trey Moses.
Led by Ryan Weber (16 points, 4-for-9 from three-point range), Ball State connected on 46 percent of its three-point attempts. KSU answered by going 6-of-14 from the arc, including 3-for-5 by Pollard.
Thomas scored 11 of his 20 from the foul line, going 11-for-12. He also dished out three assists while playing 30 turnover-free minutes. Pollard had four assists against just three turnovers.
Spicer also stuffed the stat sheet with seven points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Kent State is back in action on Saturday (4 p.m. ET) at Bowling Green. Ball State goes to Eastern Michigan Saturday (11:30 a.m. ET) for the first of two road games.
(Courtesy of KSU Athletics)