KENT, Ohio – Chris Evans, Darren Goodson, Kris Brewer, Randal Holt and Mark Henniger all scored in double figures as Kent State cruised to an 87-72 win over Central Michigan on Saturday night at the M.A.C. Center.
Evans finished with 19 points before leaving the game with an apparent right-ankle sprain in the closing minutes. Add in another 18 from Goodson, 16 from Brewer, 15 from Holt and 10 from Henniger and the Golden Flashes finished with five double-digit scorers for the second time this season.
The Golden Flashes connected on nine of their first 12 shots from three-point range while building a 44-40 halftime, but took control in the second half as their defensive effort improved.
Central Michigan shot just under 50 percent (17-for-35) in the first half while committing just two turnovers. In the second half, the Chippewas were forced into eight turnovers while shooting just 38 percent (8-for-21) from the field.
"It was nice to get another win at home," said Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff, whose team improved to 13-11 overall and 4-6 in Mid-American Conference play. "I thought we did a great job offensively all night. It was probably our best offensive performance in league play. We moved the ball, we didn't turn it over, we were getting good shots and we were shooting at a high percentage.
"The difference, though, was that we played much better defensively in the second half. We did a much better job of pressuring the ball and forcing turnovers. I was a little concerned at halftime when we made nine threes and were only up four because I knew we couldn't keep up that pace. But we also didn't guard at all in the first half."
Evans appeared to injure his right ankle when he came down awkwardly on the foot of teammate Bryson Pope with just 3:19 to play. He spent several minutes lying face down and pounding the M.A.C. Center's parquet floor before being helped to the bench. It was a scary moment, but according to Senderoff the injury does not to be as serious as it first appeared.
"(Chris) will be back tomorrow and get some treatment and we'll see how he responds to that," said Senderoff. "I don't think it is something that will prohibit him from playing, but I don't want to speak out of turn. I am not certain."
Evans was one of several stat-stuffers for Kent State. In addition to his 19 points, he grabbed eight rebounds, dished out three assists, came up with two steals and blocked a shot in 31 minutes of work.
Brewer enjoyed arguably his best night running the Golden Flashes' offense, finishing with seven assists and just one assist. Goodson added six rebounds and five assists in his 28 minutes.
"We are just now starting to find ourselves as a team," said Goodson, who is averaging 15 points per game and shooting 56 percent in the last five games. "When we don't share the ball, we lose. When we have 13 or 14 assists, we win and we shoot it at a good percentage."
As a team, Kent State totaled 18 assists on 29 baskets while shooting 55.8 percent from the field (29-for-52) and 50 percent from three-point range (11-for-22).
Central Michigan (9-14, 2-8) was led by Kyle Randall's 20 points. The senior guard connected on 4-for-10 from the field, but did most of his damage from the foul line where he connected on 11-of-13.
Kent State returns to action on Wednesday when it hosts Miami University.