Flashes Marching On to MAC Semifinals

By Published: 3/9/2018 12:02:37 AM Custom Tag

Courtesy: Aaron Chimenti
Assistant Director, Athletic Communications

CLEVELAND – Kent State continued to be at its best when it needed it most in a 76-73 victory over Ball State Thursday afternoon at Quicken Loans Arena. The defending champions ran their MAC Tournament winning streak to six games, all of which have been decided by five points or less.

The Golden Flashes will take on top-seeded Buffalo Friday at 6:30 p.m. The Bulls defeated Central Michigan earlier in the day.

Junior Jalen Avery went 6-for-8 from the field and saved his biggest bucket for the end. With the shot clock winding down and his team up one (72-71), Avery found a way to get through multiple Cardinal defenders from the top of the key to the basket.

A defensive stop and a free throw from junior Jaylin Walker with nine seconds left extended the lead to four (75-71). Two possessions later, a potential game-tying, three-point attempt from Ball State bounced off the rim as time expired. Walker scored 13 of his team-high 19 points in the second half.

“We have a never say die attitude,” Head Coach Rob Senderoff said. “Our guards were able to attack and we were able to make enough plays on both ends. When it’s a close game, we have a firm belief that we are going to find a way to win.”

The Flashes were fueled in the first half by junior Adonis De La Rosa getting to the free throw line. De La Rosa led the Flashes in the first half with 12 points, going 8-for-9 from the line. He finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Kent State led by as many as 10 (24-14) in the first half, but the Cardinals battled back to force a tie game (39-39) by halftime.

Midway through the second half the Flashes went on a 12-3 run and pulled out to another 10-point lead (63-53). The Cardinals gradually chipped away and took 69-67 lead of their own with 2:28 left. It was Ball State’s last lead as senior Kevin Zabo earned a trip to the line to tie it.

Zabo finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists. He also contributed to Kent State outscoring the Cardinals on fast break points 14-2. Avery was the fourth Golden Flash in double figures with 16 points.

Kent State will take on Buffalo in a season rubber match at 6:30 p.m., inside Quicken Loans Arena.

Published: 3/9/2018 12:02:37 AM Custom Tag