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2017 Men’s Basketball Recap: Central Michigan crumbles in second half to lose 116-106 in overtime to Kent State

Marcus Keene’s 41 not enough to upset the Golden Flashes

NCAA Basketball: Central Michigan at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

When Marcus Keene steps on the floor for the Central Michigan Chippewas, you expect great things. Keene was lights out in perhaps his most important game of the season, maybe his career. Trying to prove to people that he can lead a team to a conference championship, and that he is not just a one and done Mid-Major scorer. Keene was that elite scorer that people hoped to see in a big game like this, it just was not enough to hold off the sixth seeded Kent State Golden Flashes.

The Chippewas shocked the Golden Flashes by grabbing a 13 point lead at halftime. Except, the Golden Flashes were not going to just lie down and roll over, they came back blazing. Led by senior forward Jimmy Hall, who brought them back with a career-high 33 points and 13 rebounds. The Flashes were up 91-88 with just 1:17 left in regulation. The Chippewas answered with a triple from Braylon Rayson to send it to overtime.

In overtime it was all Kent State and Jalen Avery. The sophomore guard out of Covington, Kentucky scored 17 of his 24 points in the extra period. There was hope for the Chippewas as Keene closed the gap to 103-101 with a fade-away three pointer, but Avery answered back with a triple of his own. Avery went on to hit four free throws in the last 30 seconds or so to seal the deal for Kent State.

NCAA Basketball: Kent State at Texas Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

It was an all-around effort for Kent State as their team committed just six turnovers, and three of their starters scored 20 points or more. One very interesting fact was that all of Kent State’s starters eclipsed double-digit scoring, but their bench scored a total of three points.

For Central Michigan, it was the Marcus Keene and Braylon Rayson show. Keene had 41 points, his seventh 40 point game of the season, with 9 triples, while Rayson had 32 points with 5 from beyond the arc. Looks like the excitement of Marcus Keene will take a halt here, for now.

Kent State will now go on to face the third seeded Buffalo Bulls on Thursday in the Mid-American Conference Tournament Quarter Finals.