Kalamazoo, MI- Kent State's inability to get stops down the stretch allowed Western Michigan to come from behind for an 82-76 win on Wednesday night at University Arena.
After watching the Golden Flashes take a 68-60 lead with 7:35 to play on two Kris Brewer free throws, the Broncos scored on possession after possession in a 22-8 closing run.
"We were right there again," said Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff. "We needed a couple more stops and to execute better at the end. We are getting closer, but we are not there yet."
Nate Hutcheson played a big role in the Western Michigan comeback, scoring seven of his 15 points on three consecutive possessions to give the Broncos the lead for good.
Shayne Whittington added 21 points and 13 rebounds for Western Michigan in 35 minutes. The 6-foot-10 center added some game-clinching free throws in the final seconds to help the Broncos (15-7, 7-2 MAC) to their seventh win in a row.
Foul trouble played a role in Kent State's late troubles on the defensive end. Chris Evans, Melvin Tabb, Randal Holt, Kris Brewer and Devareaux Manley all finished the game with four fouls while Darren Goodson and Mark Henniger both fouled out.
Only backup guard David Brown was in foul trouble for Western Michigan. He finished with four fouls, but still scored 22 points off of the Broncos' bench.
"(Foul trouble) makes it harder, but at the end of the day you have to find a way to get stops at the end," said Senderoff.
Evans led Kent State with 19 points and nine rebounds. Holt added 18 points, while Goodson scored 17. Brewer was 4-for-4 from the three-point arc on his 15-point night.
"We scored 76 points," said Senderoff. "Ninety times out of 100, scoring 76 is going to be enough. It wasn't our offense. We had an eight-point lead late and needed to make a couple of more defensive plays.
"We had a number of guys play really well … But even with that, we have to find ways to get over the hump in these close games."
Kent State (12-11, 3-6 MAC) returns home to play Central Michigan at 7 p.m. on Saturday.