The Kent State Golden Flashes continued their mini-road trip on Saturday in Oxford, Ohio at Millet Hall, where they squared off with the Miami Redhawks at 3:30 PM EST. The Flashes came into play on Saturday, winning three of their last four including an impressive road win at Eastern Michigan on Tuesday. The Redhawks had dropped 7 of their last eight before Saturdays tilt with the Golden Flashes. Their last win came on January 24th, when they knocked of Buffalo at home 75-74. The Flashes are in the midst a crucial stretch of conference games as they battle for positioning in the MAC East. Saturday’s meeting was the first of two in a two week span for the MAC East foes.
Miami shook things up before the tip moving Micheal Weathers out of the starting lineup and replacing him with freshman Milos Jovic. Kent State’s Jalen Avery came out of the gate on fire, hitting two threes and a pair from the free throw line, leading the Flashes to an early 10-4 lead. Kent State Head Coach Rob Senderoff would lobby for a review after Miami banked in a three as the shot clock was expiring. Replay would vindicate Senderoff, taking three points off the Redhawks total, while a stretch of quality defense from the Flashes helped extend their lead to 17-6. Miami went 3-10 from the field and coughed it up three times in the first seven minutes of play. With an 18-8 lead at the 12:08 mark in the 1st half, the Flashes had out-rebounded Miami 13-4. A Jimmy Hall runner for Kent State would make it 23-10 and force a Redhawks timeout. Despite a cold stretch from the Flashes, Miami would fail to make a dent in their deficit and they would trail 23-13 with 7:23 in the half. Jaylin Walker would knock down a Kent State triple with 3:30 in the half, giving the Flashes their biggest lead of the game 37-22. Kent State would take a 37-26 lead into halftime, highlighted by 7-of-14 shooting from three point range as a team. Of Kent State’s 24 missed shots in the half an astonishing 14 of them were rebounded by their offense. They out-rebounded the Redhawks at the offensive end 14-4, four of them from Hall.
Avery would hit a fifteen foot jumper from the baseline to keep Kent State up by ten at the 15:54 mark in the second half. With the 14:59 to play, Miami would pick up their seventh personal foul, leaving the Flashes to shoot free throws on every foul the rest of the way. However, a transition triple from Redhawks’ sophomore guard Jake Wright would finish a mini-run, cutting the Kent State lead back to ten at 52-42, forcing a Flashes timeout. Kent State would see their star big man, Jimmy Hall pick up his third foul with 11:43 left and Miami would respond promptly by completing an 8-0 run making it 52-45. Kent would come back with Hall right away at just under ten minutes to play. Mitch Peterson would end the Flashes drought with a three to make it 55-45. Hall wouldn’t be back for long though as he would pick up his fourth foul and head back to the bench while Miami free throws cut the gap to 55-49 with 7:37 left to play. At the 5:23 mark, the Redhawks would convert two more from the stripe making it just 57-54, forcing Senderoff to send Hall back into the game. A Miami triple from Wright would bring the game back to even at 57-57 with just 2:15 to play. The Redhawks would grab their first lead of the contest with 1:39 left, when Abdoulaye Harouna split a pair of the free throws from the stripe. Hall would come right back with a right handed hook shot in the lane to give Kent State the lead back, 61-60 with 1:18 left. Desmond Ridenour would then score going to the basket and Harouna would commit an offensive foul on Miami, giving the Flashes the ball and the lead 63-60, with 40 second to play. The Flashes appeared to have things in hand when Walker stepped to the free throw line to extend their lead. However, he would split the pair and Weathers would knock down two free throws of his own to make it 64-62 with only 18.1 on the clock. Deon Edwin would miss the first and make the second for Kent State, leaving Miami only down three with 15.1 seconds left and possession. Weathers would get off the game tying three but the shot failed to draw iron and after replay review the Flashes were awarded the ball with 2.4 seconds left. Edwin would add one more from the free throw stripe with .1 seconds left, securing a Kent State victory, 66-62.
Weathers and Wright each scored 14 points to lead the way for Miami while Logan McLane chipped in with 13 points. Despite being dominated on the offensive glass in the first half, the RedHawks only lost the rebounding battle by two, 42-20, when it was all said and done. They did turn it over 19 times and were just 4-of-14 from distance. Miami drops to 9-14 overall and 2-8 in the MAC. They will host Western Michigan at home on Tuesday night at 7 PM EST.
Kent State was an abysmal 1-11 from three point range after their great (7-14) first half of shooting. The Flashes cold stretches on offense in the second half and poor free throw shooting (12-23), let Miami back in the game. Still they pulled it out in the end and have now won 4 out of 5, drawing to 3rd place in the difficult MAC East. Hall had 12 points and 12 boards and Edwin had 11 points on their way to the 66-62 victory. The Flashes improve to 13-10 overall and 5-5 in the MAC. Kent State will host Bowling Green on Tuesday night at 7 PM EST.