KENT, OHIO – The Kent State Golden Flashes went toe-to-toe with the Central Michigan Chippewas for 45 minutes Tuesday at the MAC Center, with KSU winning 116-106 in overtime to post a first round victory in the 2017 Mid-American Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The win was the sixth win in . . .
All five KSU starters scored in double figured, led by senior Jimmy Hall who had a career high 33 points with 13 rebounds and six assists. Sophomore Jaylin Walker had 29 points, tying a career high, and a career best 14 boards. Sophomore Jalen Avery, meanwhile, posted a career best 24 points. Senior Deon Edwin knocked down 17 and freshman Mitch Peterson added 10.
With the loss, Central Michigan ended its season with an eight game losing skid. That put the Chippewas at .500 overall (16-16, 6-12 MAC)
“I was proud of our guys effort and attitude, even though we went through a tough stretch and we were one play away (winning the game in regulation). The process was something to be proud of.” CMU head man Keno Davis said.
Junior Marcus Keene led all scorers in the contest with 41 points and senior Braylon Rayson, playing his final game for CMU, had 32.
The visitors from Mount Pleasant flexed their offensive muscle early by hitting six-of their first nine shots. That included all four from three-point range as CMU opened a 26-9 lead at the 12:34 mark on a triple from the top of the key by Keene, who had 22 points in the opening half.
KSU eventually started to chip away at its deficit, closing the margin to 40-38 when Hall scored on a layup at the 2:33 mark. CMU, however, ended the first half with a 13-2 run for a 53-40 halftime lead. Keene capped the burst with a three from just between the circles at time expired.
"We didn't start the game the way we've been playing over the last month," Senderoff said.. "We were tight and pressed a little bit. They made every shot early too, so I think that contributed to it. At halftime, we settled down and (then) made a good run to start the second. I think that was really important to get us back in the game."
At the start of the second half, the Flashes went on a 14-2 run to close to within a point, 55-54, when Edwin made a pair of free throws.
The game would stay close for the remainder of the second half, with any advantage oscillating within a range of 10 points. KSU finally picked up its first lead since the opening basket, 60-59, when Jaylin Walker connected on a three from the left arc.
The Chippewas then held as much as a four-point advantage, 64-60, on a three from junior Luke Meyer, who had seven points all in the second half.
The Flashes retook the lead and moved out to a six-point advantage, 84-78, on a three from left corner by Jaylin Walker, who had 20 points in the second period.
KSU held the lead until Rayson hit a pair of free throws to give CMU an 88-87 advantage. Edwin then made one of two foul shots to tie and a straightaway trey from Avery gave the Flashes a 91-88 edge with 1:15 remaining.
Rayson, who had 16 in the second period, countered with a three from the right arc to tie the score 91-91 with 1:01 left.
Both teams had a chance to win it in regulation. The Flashes chance came when freshman guard Kevin Zabo missed a three from the left arc. CMU’s opportunity was in the final seconds. Rayson drove into the lane, but he could not get a shot away and the game went into overtime.
Keene, who came into the game leading the MAC and all of Division I in scoring, connected on a three from the top of the circle to give the Chippewas their last lead of the game 94-91.
However, Avery, who had 16 of the Flashes 25 points in overtime, gave the home team the lead for good when he hit consecutive threes from the left arc and left corner respectively for a 97-94 advantage.
Keene, who had 13 points in the extra session, kept CMU in the game with clutch baskets and his three from the top of the key closed the margin to four 108-104 at the 1:01 mark.
When asked about his season, Davis said “There are no words to describe Marcus any more.”
CMU was unable to get any closer as the Flashes finished the game with an 8-2 spurt to win by 10, insuring a third meeting with Buffalo.
-- The Flashes shot 47.6% from the field. However, in the second half and overtime they were 24-of-39 (61.5%) and 11-of-17 from beyond the arc.
-- In their first encounter on January 28, CMU was a perfect seven-of-seven in the extra five minutes to win 115-108. This time it was KSU who was perfect going five-for-five from the floor and hitting all three shots from beyond the arc.
-- KSU dominated the battle of the boards 47-31, garnering 19 on the offensive glass. The hosts had 18 second chance points and just six turnovers over the 45 minutes.
-- The biggest stat in the Flashes favor was just six turnovers in 45 total minutes. When asked about that, Senderoff said “We needed every possession especially in the second half, and we were able to get them.”
-- After their hot start shooting 56.3 % from the field in the opening half, CMU went just 18-of-45 combined in the second half and overtime finishing the contest at 46.8% (36-of-77).
-- KSU is now 2-4 lifetime against CMU in MAC Tournament play
-- The 222 combined points were the most in a MAC Tournament game in history
-- KSU scored over 100 points for the fourth time this season all at home and all wins (Hiram, Niagara, Ball State, CMU)
-- Jimmy Hall’s 33 points marked the 31st time this season he reached double figure scoring. It was his 18th game with 20 or more points, his 20th double-double, and he has led the team in scoring 20 times
-- Marcus Keene scored 40 or more points seven times this season. He reached double figures in all 32 games and finished the season with 959 points.