Just as they did to open MAC play in Kalamazoo over a month ago, the Kent State Golden Flashes and Western Michigan Broncos played overtime, and the Flashes were victorious at the final horn.
The ending to the second half was just as exciting as the last time these two teams met, and of course it was some Thomas Wilder heroics forcing the extra basketball. Khaliq Spicer made what was his first basket of the game on a hook in the paint to put Kent State up 72-70, but with 10 seconds to play it was the MAC's leading scorer in conference play with the last shot at the basket. Wilder used a screen to get to the right side of the floor, and in a one on one situation attacked the basket hitting a tough, contested layup with less than a second remaining on the game clock. For the second time in as many games between the Broncos and Flashes, the game was headed to overtime.
The overtime period was all Golden Flashes as the same clutch shooting that allowed WMU to erase what was a double digit lead for Kent State failed to follow them into the extra five minutes. Kent State managed 13 points to the Broncos six, aided by sound defending and free throw shooting. The charity stripe played a huge role in the game, especially in the second half where 29 total fouls were called. On the game the Flashes were 18-21 from the line compared to the Broncos' 13-19 mark.
Leading the way for Kent State was Galal Cancer, the major contributor to Kent State's 50 percent mark from the three point line. 18 of Cancer's 24 points on the evening were from the three point line, where he shot 60 percent. Cancer did much of his damage in the first half where he led all scorers with 16 at the break, shooting 4-5 from behind the arc. He appeared to cool off for most of the second half, failing to register a basket until 2:32 to play, but managed eight points between that point and the final buzzer in overtime. He was joined in the fun by teammates Kellon Thomas and Deon Edwin each with three made three pointers in the game. Thomas and Edwin ended with 15 and 13 points, respectively. Jimmy Hall and Chris Ortiz were the final two Flashes in double figures, making it five total in the game and all but erasing the absence of Xavier Pollard at least for a night.
Wilder led the way for Western Michigan and proved his capabilities when it comes to keeping the Broncos in basketball games. With Kent State seemingly in control, Wilder netted nine points in the final 4:55 of the second half, including the contested layup to tie the score at 72. The performance was needed given WMU's second leading scorer, Tucker Haymond, ended with just 11, electing to drive and distribute over shooting from distance. However, the three point jumper that made Haymond such a versatile scorer early in the season was nowhere to be found Tuesday, as the junior went 0-5 from behind the arc in the game. Kellen McCormick was a spark off the bench for WMU in the first half, making three of four three pointers for nine points keeping the Broncos in the game, but failed to register a field goal in the second half.
Kent State will host Akron on Friday in a big MAC East division showdown, and the Broncos will look to deal a blow to rival Central Michigan's division title hopes on Saturday in Kalamazoo.
|Points||T. Wilder (24)||G. Cancer (24)|
|Rebounds||T. Haymond (7)||Three Tied (6)|
|Assists||Two Tied (4)||K. Thomas (5)|
|Blocks||Two Tied (1)||K. Spicer (5)|
|Steals||T. Wilder (3)||Two Tied (1)|