FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Kent State's CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament run ended in heartbreak as Quinton Upshur's layup with 14 seconds to play in overtime lifted Northern Arizona to a 74-73 victory in front of 3,653 at the Walkup Skydome.
The Golden Flashes trailed by 10 points late in regulation before battling back to force overtime. They led by five with 40 seconds to play in the extra session only to watch a string of astonishing plays flip the script.
MANLEY LEADS THE WAY
Devareaux Manley scored 25 points to lead the Flashes while hitting 6-of-15 from three-point range. Fellow senior Derek Jackson added 18 points, and Jimmy Hall battled back from an ice-cold shooting start to post a 16-point, 14-rebound double-double.
"These guys fought to the bitter end," said Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff, whose Flashes finished the 2014-15 season at 23-12. "It didn't go our way, but it wasn't for a lack of effort … We fought all the way back in regulation and this was certainly a game we could have won.
"You have to be proud of these guys. We won a share of the regular-season Mid-American Conference championship when nobody expected it. We won 23 games. We won 10 games on the road. At the end of the day, these guys had a great season. The effort was there. As a coach, you just want your guys to play hard night in and night out. I think we did that for the most part this year. I hope the fans appreciate that and are proud of this team."
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The season's 23 wins rank sixth in the 99-year history of men's basketball at Kent State. The Flashes appeared to be poised for win No. 24 and a berth in the CIT quarterfinals before things started to unravel in the final minute.
With Kent State trying to add to a three-point lead with 28 seconds remaining, a strip of Manley in the backcourt led to a breakaway layup by Northern Arizona's Aaseem Dixon. Breaking full court pressure off of the ensuing inbound, KSU's Kris Brewer raced to the rim only to have his bid for a layup to reinstate the three-point lead get swatted away from behind by NAU's Len Springs.
The blocked shot turned into the Upshur Layup that lifted the Lumberjacks into the lead for the first time since the 1:45 mark of regulation. A shot by Manley at the final buzzer came up short.
NO TIME OUT LEFT
"I only had one timeout and we called it when we were up and trying to preserve the lead by getting free-throw shooters in the game," said Senderoff. "I would have loved to have a timeout to set up a play there, but we had used them late in regulation to get back into the game."
Senderoff pushed all of the right buttons late in the second half as the Flashes battled back from a deficit that had grown to 10 points near the nine-minute mark.
Hall made just one of his first 12 shots, but converted his final three shots of the second half to lead the comeback.
A three by Manley with 1:45 to play gave the Flashes a 61-60 lead. NAU's Kris Yanku split a pair of free throws to tie the game before both teams played a scoreless final 1:20 heading into overtime.
FIRST HALF STRUGGLE
Kent State trailed 25-23 at the half, but kept the game close despite 24-percent shooting from the field thanks to 10 points by Jackson. The senior guard was 7-of-12 from the field on the night, including 3-for-6 from three-point range.
Yanku led the Lumberjacks with 19 points while Dixon added 16. Jordyn Martin and Springs chipped in 15 and 10 points for Northern Arizona. The Lumberjacks controlled the paint, outscoring the Flashes 50-26. They also won the rebounding battle 49-41.