KENT, OHIO – Senior guard Jalen Avery hit a three-pointer from the left arc with 25.4 seconds remaining as the Kent State Golden Flashes defeated the Ohio University Bobcats 78-73 Tuesday night at the MAC Center.
With the victory, Kent State (20-8, 8-6 MAC) ended a two-game winning streak while reaching the 20-win plateau for the time since 2016-17 and the 17th time in the last 20 seasons.
“It was good to get a win.” KSU head coach Rob Senderoff said. “We were coming off two tough losses (on the road at Central Michigan and Buffalo) it’s good to get back into the win column. It was a great team win for us”
With the game tied 71-71, freshman Antony Roberts drove the lane and scored on a layup to give the Flashes the lead for good, 73-71, with 1:29 remaining. After Murrell missed the back end of a one-and-one free throw, Avery connected to secure the victory and a season sweep of the Bobcats.
Senior Jaylin Walker led all scorers in the game with 23 points, six rebounds, three assists and a steal. Junior Antonio Williams added 15 with six boards. Akiean Fredrick came off the bench to score 10 and leads the Flashes with nine rebounds with eight coming on the offensive glass.
Ohio (12-14, 4-11) fell for the seventh time in the last eight games. The Bobcats were led by Sophomore Jason Carter who had 20 points going 7-of-9 from the field with five rebounds, and three assists.
Carter was one of four Ohio players in double figures. Senior Doug Taylor had 12 with three rebounds while freshman Jason Preston and sophomore Teyvion Kirk each added 11
“We played admirably offensively but could not close the deal.” Ohio head coach Saul Phillips said. “We had a good effort tonight in a lot of areas.”
Both teams had the lead in the early going, but KSU used a 9-1 spurt to take a lead it would hold for the remainder of the half. The lead grew to 12 points 24-12 at the 8:15 mark on a layup by Fredreick.
The 'Cats scratched and clawed their way back closing to just four points, 35-31, when Carter, who had seven points in the opening half, hit a three from the right arc as time expired in the first stanza.
At the start of the second period, the Flashes opened a 10-point lead 47-37 with 13:45 remaining on a layup by Frederick. Ohio then outscored KSU 19-8 to take its first lead (56-55) since the opening moments on a three from the left corner by Gavin Block. The senior scored nine points all coming from beyond the arc.
Both teams then traded the lead, with Ohio holding its final edge 69-68 on a layup by Kirk. The game was knotted at 71-all when Connor Murrell put the hosts ahead for good with a jumper to start a 7-2 Flashes run down the stretch.
Before Roberts layup then the three by Avery whioch was set up when he missed his initial shot and Walker grabbed the offensive rebound.
>>> Kent State moved to 13-3 overall at home and 6-2 in MAC play.
>>> Ohio shot 52.9 percent from the field (27-of-51) going 8-of-19 from three point range. KSU was held to 43.1 percent from the florr (32-of-73).
>>> The Flashes won the battle of the boards 39-33. One of the keys to the game was KSU turned the ball over only five times. A second was 21 offensive rebounds (eight from Frederick ) which led to 23 points. They also
>>> “I believe that was the story of the game -- that we had 21 offensive rebounds, 17 assists and five turnovers.” Senderoff said.
>>> Another key was the Flashes hitting five-of-seven (coming from either Walker or Avery) from three point range down the stretch.
>>> KSU’s victory kept it in the hunt for a first round bye into Quicken Loans Arena and the 2019 MAC Men’s Basketball Tournament presented by Marathon. The Flashes sit one-hald game behind Central Michigan in the race for the fourth and final bye into the quarterfinals with three games remaining.
>>> Both teams return to action over the weekend, KSU travels to Miami to face the RedHawks on Friday while Ohio continues its two-game road trip to Northeast Ohio Saturday with a stop in Akron.