Kent State Escapes Western Carolina With 58-56 Win
Box Score (.PDF)
Porrini and Greene help Golden Flashes erase four point deficit in the final two minutes
CULLOWHEE, N.C. – Give me five. In a game that wasn't decided until the final seconds, Kent State (7-1) won its fifth straight game after erasing a four point deficit in the final two minutes for a 58-56 win at Western Carolina (5-6) on Saturday afternoon.
Senior guard Carlton Guyton (Chicago, Ill.) led the team with 13 points, but it was Michael Porrini (Massillon, Ohio) who came through in the clutch once again to lift the Golden Flashes. Porrini, who started his collegiate career with the Catamounts, scored five points of his 11 points in the final 1:36. Senior forward Justin Greene (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added 12 points and nine rebounds plus had the go-ahead basket with 55 seconds remaining.
Kent State trailed 55-51 when Porrini drove to the basket for a lay-up and foul. The Golden Flashes then got the ball back after forcing one of 20 turnovers by the Catamounts in the game. Porrini drove to the hole once more, but his contested lay-up was off the mark. Greene controlled the miss, then gave Kent State a 56-55 lead with a short hook from the left block.
In the final minute the Golden Flashes forced a Catamount miss and another turnover as Porrini hit two more free throws with 12 seconds left to give Kent State a three-point margin. Western Carolina miss fired on a three, but a turnover by Kent State chasing down the rebound gave the Catamounts one last chance with three seconds left. The Golden Flashes chose to foul putting Harouna Mutombo on the foul line for a 1 and 1. Mutombo made the first and intentionally missed the second. Kent State finally secured the win when the rebound was batted around as the final buzzer sounded.
It was another solid defensive performance by the Golden Flashes which held their third straight opponent to less than 60 points. It was also the fifth time this year Kent State has forced 20+ turnovers in a game.
The Golden Flashes step away from competition for finals next week. They next travel to Utah for the Athletes in Action Classic hosted by Utah State Dec. 20-22. Saint Peter's and UT-Arlington are also making the trip out west
Kent State - Western Carolina Post Game Notes
• The Golden Flashes are 3-0 on the road this season
• Kent State is allowing just 51.6 points per game in the last three games.
• Kent State had a +10 (38-28) rebounding margin for a second straight game
• The win gives Kent State its second straight 7-1 start to the year for only the second time in school history (1998-99 & 1999-00)
• Kent State has forced 20+ turnovers five times this season
• Justin Greene became just the fourth player in school history to have 100 career blocks. Greene had one block in the game to brin his career total to 100
• Greene also moved into fifth place on the Kent State career rebounding list. He now has 652 rebounds, passing Mike Scott (646; 2005-08)
• Greene is now ranked 15th all-time on the career scoring list as well with 1,192 career points passing Rodriquez Sherman (1,180; 2005-08; 2009-11).
Kent State - Western Carolina Post Game Quotes
Kent State Men's Basketball Head Coach Rob Senderoff
On the mentality of the team in the final two minutes:
"With 2:36 we were down four and a lot of teams probably would not have found a way to come back and win the game on the road. Out kids showed incredible toughness, resiliency and togetherness. I don't think at any time did our kids question that they were going to win the game. When you play that way sometimes you find a way to win games that in a lot of ways you probably don't deserve to win. We found a way today with our kids showing a lot of heart which I really think is going to help us down the road."
On the defense:
"Our kids have defended the entire year weather things have gone well offensively or not. They have continued to grind on the defensive end and that's the real reason why we are 7-1 right now."
Kent State senior guard Michael Porrini
On the last two minutes:
"We just had to play Kent State basketball, we've been in this situation before. We are always practicing four minute games and if you can win those four minute battles throughout the game you are more than likely going to win the ballgame. The last four minutes we came out, defended hit our free throws and made the big plays."
On the three-point play with 1:36 left with Kent State down four:
"I was rested after just coming in from off the bench and coach told me to go get them. I knew were where down four so it was time for me to go out and be a senior and make the play. I knew I'd be able to get to the hole and fortunately I did and got the call."