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Late-minute comeback pushes Kent State over Ohio

Adonis De La Rosa credited with the game-winning layup

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 06 Central Michigan at Kent State Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After dropping their last contest on the road to Miami this past Tuesday, the Kent State Golden Flashes won their eighth meeting over the Ohio Bobcats in 10 previous meetings.

Despite suffering its largest halftime deficit of the season (23 points) at Oxford, Kent State, the fourth-best free throw shooting team in the conference at 73.1 percent, walked away Friday in the M.A.C.

Center victorious with an Adonis De La Rosa layup inside the 30-second mark of the second half.

De La Rosa, who’s shooting 61 percent (27-44) over the course of five games, scoring a career-high 24 points in the win against Central Michigan, finished with just eight points and three rebounds in 24 minutes played but still credited as a game’s hero.

Starting guard Kevin Zabo recorded 24 points, was one of two players for Kent State to have double-digit figures, off of 8-of 15 shooting for a player efficiency rating of 18.0.

Zabo, along with Jaylin Walker, was also the only player to attempt over 10 shots from the field, going 4-of-7 at the 3-point line. Walker, who’s close to surpass 1,000 points scored this season. Walker scored 15 points with five rebounds.

For Ohio, continuing Mid-American Conference play without a true road win, got double-digit scores from four different players, including freshman Teyvion Kirk, grabbing 17 points off 50 percent shooting. Mike Laster finished with 11 points from thee 3-point field goals.

Finishing the non-conference schedule with seven wins through 12 tries, the Bobcats also fell earlier this week, snapping an an eight-game series winning streak against Ball State.

As the top ranked 3-point field goal defensive team in the MAC, Ohio held its opponent to under 45 percent shooting from beyond the arc in the loss. Each team was equal statistical wise, with Kent State going 47.2 (25-53) from the floor.

In the first half, Ohio had a 23-19 lead entering the 6:04 mark before the Golden Flashes went on a 18-4 run before the final two minutes. It was capped off by a BJ Duling made 3-pointer before the Bobcats scored four points from two consecutive layups. Walker would beat the buzzer with four seconds remaining as Walker nailed a 3-pointer of his own to end the half at 41-30 Kent State.

In the second half, the double-digit lead for Kent State coming out of halftime dwindled to four points early on as the Bobcats cut it to four following one-of-two made free throws. But not even three minutes later, KSU held its largest advantage at 12 points with a 3-point shot from Laster.

A 14-3 run courtesy of Ohio with 10 minutes remaining up until the eight minute marker was the closest it came to getting a go-ahead lead, falling to within one point on two separate occasions.

Kent State held on until the final seconds, even though OU went ahead with 2:01 remaining which was its first lead since the 12:15 mark of the first half, collecting its second conference win of the season, continuing a four-game stretch where it’ll play at home again for two games.

Ohio returns to the Convocation Center next Tuesday, hosting MAC foe Toledo with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m.