KENT, OHIO – The Kent State Golden Flashes extended their winning streak to three games by defeating the Aggies of North Carolina A&T, 71-57, Friday night at the MAC Center.
Kent State (7-2) used a 17-4 run to close the game and end a two-game losing streak at home. It was the the Flashes first game in front of the home fans since November 29th when they lost to Loyola Chicago.
“It was a hard fought win for us.” KSU head coach Rob Senderoff said. “We didn’t play perfect, but we made plays when we needed to.”
Senior Devareaux Manley scored a career-high 24 points, going 7-of-10 from three-point range while fellow senior Kris Brewer came off the bench to add 11, along with four assists.
The game started slowly with the Flashes having trouble from the throw line, missing five of their first seven from the charity stripe. The Aggies took advantage thanks to six straight points by Doby. That opened up a 14-10 lead at the 10:04 mark.
KSU then went on an 11-2 run to grab a five-point lead, 21-16, at the 6:44 mark on a pair of free throws by Manley.
The Flashes opened their largest lead of the opening period, 31-23, at the 1:34 mark when junior Chris Ortiz connected on a three from the left arc. They went into halftime with a seven-point advantage at 32-25.
KSU shot 47.8 percent from the field (11-of-23) while holding the Aggies to 8-of-20 from the floor (40%). Kent State stuggled at the free throw line (6-of-13) but forced NC A&T into 14 turnover, converting them into 17 points.
The Flashes opened with 10-2 spree at the start of the second half to establish a 15-point lead, 42-27, at the 16:05 mark when Manley connected on a three from the top of the circle.
The lead stayed in double digits until an Aggies run that pulled them within five 48-43. That came at the 8:13 mark on a three-pointer from Bramers from the top of the key. KSU pushed the lead back out to eight at 51-43 on a Brewer free throw, but the Aggies closed to within four at 51-47 when Bremers was fouled attempting a three. He made two of the three subsequent free throws.
That would be the closest the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference visitors would get for the remainder of the game as the Flashes sealed the victory with a 17-4 run to open their largest lead of the game, 69-53, on a three by Manley before winning by 14.
KSU shot 50 percent from the field in the second 20 minutes (13-of-26) and finished the contest just under 50 percent (24-of-49). The Aggies shot just 37.5% from the floor (9-of-24) and were at just 38.6 percent (17-of-44) over the 40 minutes.
NC A&T narrowly won the rebound battle, 27-24, but committed 23 turnovers, which the Flashes converted into 29 points. It was one of the key stats to the game, as well as KSU’s advantage in bench scoring at 20-8.
The contest tipped off a stretch of three games in four days for the Flashes as they head onto El Paso, Texas to play in the Don Haskins-Sun Bowl Tournament. KSU faces North Dakota State from the Summit League on Sunday and follows with either host Texas-El Paso (Conference USA) or Alcorn State (Southwest Athletic).