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Kent State Golden Flashes Defeat Miami Redhawks in MAC Play
By Evan Meyer
The Kent State Golden Flashes used an 18-2 run at the end of the first half and never looked back as they routed the Miami Redhawks 87-70 Wednesday night at the MAC Center.
Kent State (14-11, 5-6 MAC) has won three of its last four games, all coming at home, as their 87 points are the most points they have scored in MAC play so far this season; and the second most overall to the 92 they scored against Chicago State back on Nov. 16.
“It was a good team win for us tonight,” KSU head coach Rob Senderoff said after the game. “We had a cumber of guys play well especially offensively.”
Senior forward Chris Evans led five KSU players in double figures with 22 points and 13 rebounds; which was his fifth double-double of the season. Senior guard Randal Holt and sophomore guard Kris Brewer each scored 13 points, as junior Mark Henninger added 11 while junior Bryson Pope came off the bench to score 10.
“He did a great job tonight. It was probably his best game of the year, his most efficient game of the year,” Senderoff said of Evans’ performance. “He did all of those things in 28 minutes.” In addition to the double-double, Evans had two assists, four steals and a blocked shot.
Miami (8-15, 3-8 MAC) suffered their third consecutive loss and seventh in the last eight games. MU has not won a road game since January 12th at Buffalo and has just three road wins overall this season.
Junior guard Allen Roberts led MU with 16 points coming off the bench, while freshman guard Geovonie McKnight had 12 points and leading scorer junior Will Felder added 10 with five rebounds.
In fact, the Redhawks only lead of the game came on the first basket of the contest when sophomore guard Will Sullivan connected on a three-pointer from the right arc.
From that point on, it was all Kent State as they used an 11-2 run to take the lead for good as Brewer connected on a three from the top of the key. They extended the lead to 16-8 at the 13:41 mark after a steal and a slam dunk by Evans; who had 13 points and six rebounds in the game’s first 20 minutes.
With KSU leading 24-15 at the 9:33 mark after a three-pointer from the top of the key by Holt, MU closed to within four, 30-26, at the 5:58 mark. Five of the points came from junior Josh Sewell, who came off the bench to score two free throws then a three from the top of the circle.
Those four points would be the closest the Redhawks would get for the remainder of the game, as the Flashes went on a scorching 18-2 run to take a 48-28 lead at the 1:09 mark on a driving layup by Henninger; heading went into halftime with a 48-32 advantage.
“We had a 10-point lead and saw it cut down to six and we were not playing very smart,” Senderoff said. “Let’s buckle down and play the right way defend, rebound, and push the ball. That spurt really helped us going into halftime.”
In the first half, KSU shot a blistering 65.5 percent from the field, hitting 19-of-29 shots from the field and going 6-of-13 from three-point range. On the stat sheet, Miami did not play badly as they shot 46.4 percent from the floor (13-of-28), however they turned the ball over eight times resulting in 10 KSU points.
“We have been shooting the ball well the past couple of games, and I think it stemd from us moving the basketball (around),” Senderoff said. “We have had over 10 threes the last three games. We are getting good shots and making them of late.”
In the second half, the Flashes lead would not fall below double digits, as the closest MU would get would be 14 points at 58-44 when Roberts connected on a three from the left arc.
The largest lead the Flashes would have was 25 points, 82-57, after a slam dunk by Evans at the 5:31 mark before Senderoff cleared his bench and won by 17; their fourth consecutive home win over MU.
When asked about his team building momentum toward the end of the season and the upcoming MAC Tournament, Senderoff said, “I feel we are gaining momentum, but we have to go to Ohio on Saturday and iof we get blitzed, I wont fell that way anymore.”
Both teams are in action on Saturday, as KSU travels to Ohio to face the Bobcats–who they lost to by one point in their first meeting 69-68. Miami heads home to face Buffalo–who they beat by one point the first time around 58-57.
FROM EVAN’S GAMEBOOK:
KEY MOMENT: KSU using that 18-2 run at the end of the first half to break the game open and never looked back.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: CHRIS EVANS-KENT STATE. The senior had 22 points and pulled down 13 rebounds, all on a less than perfect right ankle which he sprained late in Saturday’s home win over Central Michigan. It was the fifth double-double for Evans this season.
KEY STAT OF THE GAME: Kent State shot 65.5 percent from the field in the first half (19-of-29).