Second Half Spurts Lead Kent State To 76-71 Win Over Buffalo
Golden Flashes win seventh straight now tied for 2nd in MAC East
Box Score (.PDF)
KENT, Ohio – Kent State (19-6; 9-3 MAC) won its seventh straight and climbed into a second place tie in the Mid-American Conference East Division after stopping Buffalo (16-7; 9-3 MAC) by a final of 76-71 Tuesday night in the M.A.C. Center.
For the fourth consecutive game, the Golden Flashes were led in scoring by senior forward Justin Greene (Brooklyn, N.Y.) who totaled 18 points and six rebounds, but it was senior guard Michael Porrini (Massillon, Ohio) who was a real difference maker in the game. Porrini racked up 14 of his 16 points in the second half while hitting two key three pointers in the final eight minutes. The 2011 MAC Defensive Player of the Year, he also added a game high nine assists and six rebounds.
After starting the half trailing eight points, Kent State erupted to begin the second stanza. The Golden Flashes went on a 11-0 run in just over a two minute span and shot 9-12 from the field in the first seven minutes of the period which turned the eight point deficit into a nine point, 57-48 lead. Sophomore guard Eric Gaines (Chicago, Ill.), played a huge roll in the comeback including one sequence when he stole an inbounds pass then hit a three-pointer while being fouled for a four-point play.
Buffalo didn't go away however and quickly got back into the game with a 13-0 run that gave the Bulls a 61-57 lead with 7:38 remaining.
It was then time for Porrini to take over. The 6'1" senior sparked an 11-4 stretch over the next two minutes by hitting three-pointers on the next two possessions followed by an assist Greene to push the Kent State lead up to five with 5:23 to go.
Buffalo would bring the margin back to 70-68 with under 90 seconds to play, before senior guard Carlton Guyton (Chicago, Ill.), hit a three-pointer from the top of the key for three of his 11 points to increase the Golden Flashes' lead back to five points. Greene then iced the game at the line with 15.4 seconds to play as the defending MAC Player of the Year sank both shots.
Junior guard Randal Holt (Cleveland, Ohio) added 15 points and hit four of Kent State's 11 three-pointers in the game. The Golden Flashes shot over 60 percent from beyond the arc (11-18) for the first time since Feb. 2, 2008.
Buffalo senior guard Zach Filzen had a game high 20 points while sparking a 10-2 run that led to a 39-31 lead at halftime for the Bulls.
Kent State completes a three-game homestand on Saturday by welcoming Charleston to the M.A.C. Center as part of the 10th annual Sears BracketBuster event. The Golden Flashes will be honoring the 2002 Elite 8 team with an appearance from Antonio Gates at halftime of the 6:00 pm contest. Follow the action on the radio at WNIR 100.1 FM or listen online at www.kentstatesports.com.
A special promotional announcement about the game to be made EXCLUSIVELY on Twitter by @Golden_Flashes
Kent State - Buffalo Post Game Notes
• Kent State is now 15-0 all-time against Buffalo at home
• The Golden Flashes shot 9-12 from the field in the first seven minutes of the second half while outscoring Buffalo 23-7
• Kent State equaled a season high with 11 three-pointers
• The Golden Flashes shot 61.1% from three marking the first time the team has shot over 60% from three in a came since Feb. 9, 2008 vs Northern Illinois.
• Michael Porrini equaled a career high with nine assists
• Porrini gave Kent State a +20 advantage in points scored (64-44) in the 30 minutes he was on the floor
• The Golden Flashes are 10-0 all-time when Porrini has double figures in the second half. Porrini scored 14 of his 16 in the second half tonight
• Justin Greene had a team high with 18 points improving Kent State to 10-1 this year when he leads the team in scoring.
Kent State - Buffalo Post Game Quotes
Kent State Head Coach Rob Senderoff
On the end of 1st half:
"We didn't close out the half very well. Guys weren't making smart plays and decisions. To their credit our guys came out in the second half and really got after it on the defensive end. We made simple plays and shared the ball and that's why we shot 60% in the second half."
On Eric Gaines:
"He didn't play a ton of minutes, but it seemed like he was in there more. I thought he changed the game on the defensive end. He hit the three and ended up with a four point play."
On the Kent State rebounding:
"We knew that we had to try and stay with them on the boards. They're one of the best rebounding teams in the country. If we only get outrebounded by two against them and don't turn it over were going to have a good chance to win."
Kent State senior guard Michael Porrini
On effort in the game:
"We've been talking about not messing up and keeping focus. The only way we can do that is by winning. We know a loss at home would knock us out of the standings for a bye in the MAC Tournament. It would knock us out of competing for first place. We just wanted to dig deep. Coaches challenged us at halftime, so we responded."
Kent State senior forward Justin Greene
On second half surge:
"Anytime we're down at home, coaches did what they had to do. They had to know what we were doing was unacceptable; especially the way we closed the half. We came out in the second half and knew if we didn't make a run in the first four minutes, they could blow the game wide open and we wanted to come out and match that intensity for the first four minutes."
On members of the 2002 Elite 8 team coming to the game on Saturday vs Charleston:
"They were great, they have their jerseys hanging up. They went to the Elite 8. No team has ever done anything like that. We always give respect to what they did. They were the greatest team to ever play here at Kent State. We look up to those guys and we try to make a run the same way they did. Anytime they're here, they're always encouraging us, making sure we are working hard and letting us know what it takes to get there as a team and as a group. We appreciate that and we can't wait for them to get here on Saturday and hopefully they can leave here with a smile and a win."