KENT, Ohio – Randal Holt became Kent State's career leader in three-pointers and the Golden Flashes ended a four-game losing streak in a 77-62 victory over Eastern Michigan on Saturday night at the M.A.C. Center.
Three-pointer No. 211 arrived at the 11:34 mark of the second half for Holt, allowing him to leapfrog Trevor Huffman (1998-2002) on Kent State's all-time list. The long jumper from the left wing was also the fifth three of the night for the senior, who finished with a team-high 17 points.
Sitting in a press conference almost 15 minutes after the final buzzer, Holt still couldn't believe he has passed Huffman, whose No. 24 hangs in the M.A.C. Center rafters.
"It hasn't hit me yet," Holt said. "I'm just blessed. I'm thankful just to be here at Kent State. And to break a milestone that has held up for years is an amazing feeling … More importantly, it felt good to get a win. We had been on a four-game losing streak. That's not something we do at Kent State. We all committed ourselves to do whatever it takes to get the win."
The Golden Flashes converted 37.5 percent of their three-point shots (9-for-24) against Eastern Michigan's trademark 2-3 zone. They upped that number to 42.7 percent in a decisive second half that saw Kent State turn a slim 32-26 halftime lead into a runaway.
Back-to-back jumpers by Darren Goodson to open the half were followed by consecutive threes by Holt during a 10-0 run to start the second half. Kent State pushed its lead as high as 21 points by 5:14 mark.
"For us, the starts of second halves at home have not been very good," said Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff. "It's not something we talked about at all, but I do think that start was important for us … It helped us ease some of the tension that would have been there had Eastern started the second half on a 5-0 run or something like that."
Holt converted 5-of-10 from beyond the arc on a night when he needed five threes to eclipse Huffman's record. He also matched a career-high with six assists while playing much of the night at point guard. The last time Holt played significant minutes at the point was during his freshman season.
Senderoff hoped the big night would serve as a confidence builder in a season that has seen Holt struggle through inconsistent play.
"Tonight was a good night for Randal," said Senderoff. "He is probably as frustrated as anyone that he hasn't produced the way he would like and the way we all would like. But he also just set the all-time record for threes in school history. This is a kid who came off major knee surgery that kept him out for three months. He didn't practice until Nov. 1 and then played 40 minutes vs. Drexel (Nov. 9) and hit the game-winning shot that night.
"Randal hasn't had the year he would like to date … but the final chapter of his career has not yet been written."
Fellow Kent State senior Chris Evans added 15 points, including two more highlight-reel dunks, to the Kent State cause. Goodson finished with 12.
Derek Thompson came off of the bench to score a team-high 17 points for Eastern Michigan (10-11, 3-4). He was the only Eagle to score in double figures.
Kent State (12-10, 3-5) travels to Western Michigan on Wednesday night.