KENT, OHIO – The Kent State Golden Flashes rebounded from one of their worst home losses in recent memory last Saturday against Bowling Green to defeat the Western Michigan Broncos 88-73 Tuesday evening at the MAC Center.
Kent State (12-3, 1-1 MAC) picked up its 10th victory in the last 12 games overall, along with improving its home record to 8-2.
“A real good team win for us.” Flashes head coach Rob Senderoff said. “We needed to play well. Everyone contributed. Everybody helped defensively. They played to a high level, and hopefully we can continue to build on this.”
Senior Jaylin Walker led all scorers in the contest with 23 points, adding three rebounds and five assists in his first start of the season.
Walker led five KSU players in double figures. Junior Antonio Williams came off the bench to score 14 going 6-of-7 from the field. Fellow junior, Mitch Peterson also off the bench, scored 13 including 3-of-4 from beyond the three-point arc. Junior Phillip Whittington recorded a double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds
Western Michigan (6-9,0-2 MAC) lost for the fifth time in the last six games.
“We missed a lot of shots early in the game.” Broncos head coach Steve Hawkins said. “We did not play confident offensive basketball early. Our poor shots were their outlet passes.”
The Broncos were led by sophomore Michael Flowers, who had 20 points with four rebounds and six assists. WMU also had four players in double figures. Senior Seth Dugan had 16 points with six rebounds and four assists. Senior Josh Davis added 14 with six boards, while freshman Williams Boyer-Richard had 12 points, going 4-of-6 from beyond the arc
After WMU scored the opening points of the game , a three-pointer from the right arc by Jerald Printy, the Flashes took the lead using a 10-3 run to open a 10-6 lead at the 16:17 mark on a three from the top of the key from Avery.
The game remained close until a 10-2 KSU spurt to open a 35-22 advantage at the 3:41 mark on a three from the left corner. The Flashes finished the half scoring the last seven points, including a three from the left arc just before halftime for a 44-31 lead.
Kent State shot 54.8 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes to sustain the advantage.
At the start of the second half, KSU opened its largest lead of the game, 50-32 with 17:24 remaining, on a three from the left arc by Avery.
WMU made a push to get back into the contest. With the Flashes leading 52-36 with 15:36 remaining on a pair of free throws by Avery, the Broncos scored 10 unanswered points to close within 52-48 with 13:01 remaining on a three from the left arc by Boyer-Richard.
“When we made that run, that was what we should have been playing (for the entire game) Hawkins said. “We started to play with confidence offensively, However we just could not sustain it.”
That would be the closest WMU wouyld get for the remainder of the game.
KSU pushed the lead back out to 12 62-48 thanks to a pair of thre3s frost from Walker from the left arc and then from the right arc by Peterson.
The Flashes moved the lead back out to 16 (69-53) with 8:30 remaining on a layup by Whittington, WMU made one final push, narrowing the deficit to eight, 73-65, with 4:49 remaining on a three from the right arc by Wilkins.
For the second time, KSU steadied their game on a tip-in basket from Whittington and then a three from the left arc by Peterson.
Statistically, the Flashes shot 53.2 percent from the field (33-of-62) while narrowly winning the battle of the boards, 36-34. WMU was held to just 36.7 percent (24-of-63) over the course of the contest .
The rest of the stats tilted in favor KSU, who coverted 14 WMU turnovers into 19 points and had a decisive advantage inside, scoring 34 to the Broncos 19. KSU also had 13 second chance points.
COMING UP . . .