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Kent State Beats Vanderbilt in Nail Biter

Golden Flashes win 77-75

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Sacramento Practice Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Kent State Golden Flashes knocked off the Vanderbilt Commodores, 77-75, in the Commodore Classic.

The Commodores struck first, but then the Golden Flashes knocked down their first three three point attempts and led the rest of the first half. At one point in the half, Kent had built up a 10 point lead, only for the Commodores to knock it down to one. Kent closed the first half with a 41-34 lead.

The Golden Flashes opened the second half with a Philip Whittington block that turned into a C.J. Williamson three. Again the Golden flashes built up a lead, only for the Commodores to claw their way back into it. A Semisola Shittu layup put the Commodores up by one with 10:31 left in the first half. Jalen Avery almost immediately hit a three and the two teams stayed close the rest of the way. After an Avery layup with 2:22 left, Vanderbilt missed a three, and Jaylin Walker responded with a three. That put the Golden Flashes up for good, thanks to nine Kent State free throws in the final 40 seconds.

Jaylin Walker lead the Golden Flashes with 22, with Avery and Williamson adding 18 each. Mitch Peterson added 9, Antonio Williams 8, and B.J. Duling 2. Whittington and Williamson each had 6 rebounds, and the Golden Flashes were mauled on the boards 24-44. The Golden Flashes hit 12 of 24 threes to help balance the rebounding disadvantage.

Kent takes on Detroit Mercy next. The Titans,out of the Horizon League, are currently 2-3, and have 7 different MAC schools on their non-conference slate. They previously lost to WMU, beat BGSU, and have EMU before their contest against the Golden Flashes.