Kent State Breaks MAC Tournament Scoring Record to Advance Past Central Michigan

By Published: 3/7/2017 7:19:13 AM Custom Tag

Courtesy: Kent State Athletics

KENT, Ohio – The Kent State University men's basketball team (19-13) is headed to Cleveland after setting a new MAC Tournament scoring record at home against the Central Michigan Chippewas (16-16) Monday, 116-106 (OT).

The victory put the Golden Flashes in the quarterfinal round at Quicken Loans Arena in the nightcap Thursday against third-seeded Buffalo. The game will start 30 minutes after the first game of the session at 6:30 p.m.

"It's March, right?" exclaimed head coach Rob Senderoff. "That's where all this crazy stuff happens. What a game, I'm really proud of our toughness and resiliency. I called it 'basketball character' prior to the game. We showed a never quit attitude throughout the game. It was a great win for us and now we move onto the next one. "

The combined 222 points is by far the most ever scored in a MAC Tournament game. Kent State's 116 points broke Miami's record from 1990 by eight points. The game was also Kent State's fourth 100+ point game of the season, tying a program-record.

Individually, Kent State was led by a career-high 33 points from senior Jimmy Hall, who shot 14-for-24 in his final game in the M.A.C. Center. Hall collected 14 rebounds and recorded team-highs of six assists, three blocks and two steals. Jaylin Walker earned his first double-double, setting a new career-mark of 14 rebounds and tying his career high of 29 points. After a rough start to the night, he made eight of his last 14 shots. Jalen Avery was the hero late, and finished with career-bests of 24 points and six rebounds.

The first half was not for the faint of heart, with both teams going on long runs. The fun began with a 15-0 run in the first six minutes of the game, followed by back-to-back 3-pointers, giving Central Michigan its largest lead of the game at 26-9 with 12:36 left in the first half. Kent State answered with a quick 7-0 run, and cut the deficit to two points at 40-38. Central Michigan outscored the Flashes, 13-2, down the stretch of the first half to lead 55-42 at halftime.

"We didn't start the game the way we've been playing over the last month," stated Senderoff. "We were tight and pressed a little bit. They made every shot early too, so I think that contributed to it. At halftime we settled down, and made a good run to start the second. I think that was really important to get us back in the game."

Trailing at the break for the seventh straight game, Kent State immediately climbed out of the hole. They outscored the Chippewas, 17-4, to tie the game at 57-57 with 14:40 remaining. For the remainder of regulation, the teams played within four points of each other. Kent State looked to have taken control on a Walker 3-pointer with four minutes left, putting the team up 87-83. However, the Flashes were held to one field goal for the remainder of regulation, a crucial Avery 3-pointer that put his team ahead 91-88 with 1:17 left.

All-MAC guard Braylon Rayson answered Avery's bucket with a clutch 3-pointer to tie the game at 91 with just over a minute left. In the final minute, each team had two opportunities to hit a go-ahead shot, but all four attempts came up short. The final shot was on a long rebound, but a buzzer-beating 3-pointer rimmed out to send the game to overtime.

In the Jan. 28 game between these two teams in the M.A.C. Center, Central Michigan had a perfect shooting night in overtime to win. This time, it was Kent State's turn. The Flashes shot a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor, led by a trio of 3-pointers from Avery. Kent State took 14 trips to the foul line and converted 12, with Avery going 7-for-8 to lead the way. Central Michigan's Marcus Keene hit a 3-pointer to start the half, but Avery led the Flashes on a 13-3 run, leading by as much as 12 points before the final horn.

"Eventually if we kept doing what we wanted to do, we thought that they would miss enough shots and we had to just make sure we were executing and getting the ball inside," Senderoff said. "In the beginning of the game we were trying to match 3-for-3 without it touching the paint. As the game went on we got better at that."

Overall, the record setting score was due to the Flashes' shooting 47.1 percent (40-for-85) from the floor and 51.6 percent (16-for-31) from 3-point range. The Flashes were two 3-pointers shy of the program record. Central Michigan shot 46.8 percent (36-for-77) from the floor and 48.6 percent (18-for-37) from deep. Kent State won the rebounding battle, 48-32. In a game that featured a season-high 85 possessions, Kent State only turned the ball over six times.

The Flashes had five scorers in double figures Monday. Deon Edwin scored 17 points and recorded five assists and six rebounds. Mitch Peterson scored 10 points and 4-for-7 shooting and grabbed three boards. Kevin Zabo came off the bench to log three points, rebounds and assists each.

Ensure your seat in the Golden Flashes fan section at the MAC Tournament by purchasing tickets directly through Kent State Athletics. For questions regarding available seating locations call (330) 672-2244, or visit the Ticket Office at the M.A.C. Center.
Published: 3/7/2017 7:19:13 AM Custom Tag