KENT, OHIO – The Kent State Golden Flashes remained perfect at home while picking up their third consecutive victory Saturday night, defeating the NJIT Highlanders 87-71 at the MAC Center.
"It was a good game for us," KSU head coach Rob Senderoff said. "We beat a quality opponent and there's a number of stats we could look at, and I think we could play better. But it's a good win against a good team. There is a lot for us to continue to work on, which is also a positive, so we'll continue to get better."
Sophomore Jaylin Walker had . . .
As in their previous four games on the home hardwood, the Flashes took an early lead and would not be headed. It was tied a 2-2 and 4-4 before KSU went on a 12-2. The hosts opened a 27-12 lead at the 12:07 mark on a three-pointer from the left arc by Desmond Ridenhour.
The Flashes first half advantage grew to as many as 23 points, 47-24, when Hall scored on a turnaround jumper at the 3:08 mark. It was a 47-30 game at intermission.
KSU built its lead by shooting 51.7 percent from the field in the first half (19-of-37) and going 6-of-14 from beyond the arc. It also held a 20-16 rebound edge.
The Highlanders, meanwhile, had trouble finding the range as they were just 12-of-30 from the floor (40%) in the first 20 minutes and also turned the ball over nine times.
In the second half, the Flashes pushed the lead back out to 20 points, 58-38, on a pair of free throws by Hall. NJIT, who in its last game at Minnesota gave the Big Ten Golden Gophers all they could handle before losing 74-68, then made the first of two runs to get back into the game.
The first was a 10-0 spurt to close the deficit down to 12 (58-46) with 13:33 remaining. Lynn, who scored 18 of his points in the second half, finished off the run by converted a four-point play -- getting fouled while hittina three from the right arc then making the free throw.
The second run was a 7-0 burst to get the margin below double digits 64-55 at the 10:05 mark. Again it was Lynn with a big basket -- another three, this one from left arc.
That, however, would be the closest the visitors from Newark would get for the rest of the game. KSU steadied the ship, pushing its lead out to 18 on two occasions in the closing moments before winning by 16.
With the decision, Kent State improving to 2-0 lifetime against NJIT and 4-1 against the A-SUN Conference.
The Flashes cooled off a little in the second half from the field going 13-of-27 (48.1%) but finished the contest at an even 50% (32-of-64). They won the rebound battle, 39-32. However, one sore spot was 22 turnovers that were converted into 22 points.
“We have to clean that up.” Senderoff said. “22 turnovers is way too much”.
KSU takes a break for finals before hosting Wright State on Sunday December 18. The Raiders are 6-4 on the season after losing on Saturday at Loyola-Chicago.