Kent State Continues Hot Start, Outlasts Surging Youngstown State Squad 83-79

Derek Jackson had another big game as his return trip the MAC has gotten off to a fantastic start. - Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Kent State survived a tough home test Wednesday night, holding off a tough Youngstown State team for a narrow win.

In a game that seemed all but wrapped up at halftime, Kent State found itself struggling to hold down a surging Youngstown State (6-2) squad in a nail-bitter of a win. Five Golden Flashes scored in double digits as the team improved to 7-1 with an 83-79 win.

The game started off slow as the two squads traded scores, and fouls, throughout the first 15 plus minutes. Derek Jackson, who finished with a team-high 15 points, scored twice before the under-4 media timeout to put Kent State up 27-24. Then the Flashes took over. Five separate Flashes scored in the final 2:46 of the half to send KSU into halftime up 42-30. Youngstown State's momentum seemed drained and the bench depleted of energy as the teams shuffled off into the locker rooms at half.

But, when the clock started rolling in the second half, it was back to business. With the new hand-check foul call playing a huge role, and YSU' forward Kelmin Belin taking most of the shots, the Penguins shot out to a 14-2 run, tying the game at 44-44 less than five minutes into the half. Belin wasn't finished, as he went to the charity stripe six separate times down the stretch, going 14-15 from the line and finishing with a game-high 32 points and seven rebounds.

The game went on this way for sometime, with Youngstown State drawing a foul and cutting Kent State's lead short, only to have the Golden Flashes push back and regain the narrow lead. KSU dominated in the paint, it out-rebounded Youngstown State 40-29 on the night, providing plenty of opportunities for the Flashes to score.

With the game within four points at the under-8 media timeout, four separate Golden Flashes scored holding off YSU's advances. Kris Brewer was the key component of Kent's late stand as the guard scored six of his 14 points in the final four minutes. He finished the night 7-for-8 from the free throw line and added 6 rebounds.

Mark Henniger lead the Flashes with seven rebounds and added 11 points. Darren Goodson added six and 10, and sophomore-transfer K.K. Simmons continued to be a sharp-shooting threat adding 12 off the bench on 4-for-5 from three-point range.

The Flashes have now pulled off five straight wins with and have wins against pretty good Temple, Niagara and Youngstown State squads on the year. With two games left in a seven-game home stand, against Kennesaw State (3-5) and Bucknell (3-3) it's likely the Flashes could ride this hot streak to a 9-1 record before entering a two-week hiatus in early December.

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