CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Kent State Golden Flashes used a 12-1 run midway through the second half to break open a close game and then held on at the end to defeat the Cleveland State Vikings 66-62 Saturday afternoon at Quicken Loans Arena.
Kent State (4-2) had not played for one full week after ...
“This was a great team effort,” KSU head coach Rob Senderoff said. “Cleveland State is a very good test for us to prepare for Mid-American Conference play. It took some big plays down the stretch by Khaliq, Jimmy, Chris Ortiz, Galal Cancer, and Kellon Thomas – really, everyone -- for us to come get the stops we needed, get the lead, and then hold on for the win."
Senior Khaliq Spicer led all scorers in the game with a career high 22 points, along with eight rebounds and a blocked shot. Junior Jimmy Hall added 14 points with nine boards, six assists and a blocked shot.
Cleveland State (2-6) out of the Horizon League had the upper hand for almost the entire first half, building as much as a seven-point lead. KSU chipped away at the advantage, tying the game on two occasions. The last was 21-21 at the 6:27 mark on a jumper by freshman Jalin Walker, his only points of the game.
At the start of the second half, both teams exchanged the lead with CSU building as much as a four-point advantage on two occasions, the last being 45-41 on a pair of free throws by Yates.
KSU took the lead for good with a 12-1 run, turning that four-point deficit into a seven point advantage, 56-43, on a free throw by Spicer at the 8:08 mark. One of the keys to the run was the Flashes defense as they switched to a 1-3-1 trap that forced the Vikings into turnovers.
"Khaliq and Jimmy were both great today. They played very well together and gave us a real post presence " Senderoff said.
KSU largest lead of the game was eight points on two occasions the last being 56-48 on a pair of free throws from senior Kellon Thomas who had seven points.
The closest the Vikings would get for the remainder of the game was three points after a jumper from freshman Rob Edwards, who tied Yates as Cleveland State’s leading scorer with 14 points each. Senior Vinny Zollo added 10 with 11 rebounds, four assists and a steal.
"I thought this was a good game by both teams," CSU head man Gary Waters said. "But we just couldn't stop them inside. They scored 40 points in the paint, and we have to correct that. Their zone hurt us and was just enough to get them ahead, and we couldn't recover.”
KSU ends its three-game road trip on Monday as the Flashes travel to Newark, New Jersey to face New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) from the Atlantic Sun Conference before returning home to the MAC Center on Thursday to battle Louisiana-Monroe out of the Sun Belt.