ATHENS, Ohio – Kent State clamped down on defense while spoiling Senior Day at Ohio University's Convocation Center with a 75-61 victory over the Bobcats Saturday afternoon.
Following the defensive gameplan to perfection, the Golden Flashes limited Ohio to 34.5-percent shooting (19-of-55) while shutting down star guard Nick Kellogg to two points on 0-for-6 from the field in his final home game. The Bobcats inside production was also limited by 1-for-7 nights by both Maurice Ndour and T.J. Hall.
Kent State's junior trio of guards came up big on the offensive end, as Devareaux Manleyscored 17 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the three-point arc. Derek Jackson added 14 points and Kris Brewer chipped in 12 in a stat line that included eight assists and seven rebounds in 35 minutes.
"This was a great team win for us on a day when we knew coming down here and winning was going to be difficult," said Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff, whose Flashes improved to 16-13 overall and 7-9 in Mid-American Conference play while inching closer to securing a first-round game at home in the upcoming MAC Tournament. "We had to play very well and we did. We defended well. We rebounded well. We made our free throws for the first time in what seems like forever. We did a great job on their best player, Nick Kellogg. Derek Jackson in particular did a great job defensively on him. And we did a great job on the glass, which we needed to do as well."
The Golden Flashes converted 22 of their 25 free throws. In year that has seen Kent State miss some key free throws late in games, Kellon Thomas and Kris Brewer combined to go 8-for-8 from the charity stripe in the final 2:13 after the Bobcats cut the lead inside double-figures.
Kent State also out-rebounded Ohio 41-30 despite 14 offensive rebounds by the Bobcats.
After holding Ohio (19-10, 9-7) to 20-percent shooting (6-for-29) in the first half and taking a 36-24 lead into the break, the Golden Flashes answered every Ohio challenge in the final 20 minutes.
Manley spoiled two mini runs by drilling threes from the right corner. And when Ohio's Stevie Taylor converted an old-fashioned three-point play to pull the Bobcats within eight points at the 4:46 mark, Kent State senior Mark Henniger answered with by rumbling to the rim for a three-point play of his own just 25 seconds later.
"That was the play of the game," said Senderoff. "It was a sideline ball-screen, and Mark did a great job of going to the rim strong and finishing. Without that play, it might have been very different down the stretch."
Henniger finished with nine points, eight rebounds and two blocks in an active 29 minutes. He also lunged for a loose ball while assisting on the second of back-to-back threes byDerek Jackson that gave the Flashes their biggest lead of the day at 36-22 just before halftime.
Thomas also scored nine points, all coming on a 9-for-10 afternoon at the foul line.
Travis Wilkins was the only Ohio player to score in double-figures, finishing with 14 points while going 4-of-6 from three-point range and hitting several shots late in the game to give the Bobcats hope.
In Ohio's six-point win in Kent earlier this season, the Bobcats scored 20 points in transition. On Saturday, they were limited to just four fast break points.
The Golden Flashes return home for their own Senior Night when they host Miami University on Tuesday at the M.A.C. Center at p.m. As part of the "TWO for Tuesday" promotion, fans can purchase TWO general admission tickets to this game for the price of one ($12). To purchase tickets, contact the athletics ticket office at 330-672-2244 or stop by the M.A.C. Center Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.