Flashes' Comeback Attempt Falls Just Short Against Akron
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Kent State's Mid-American Conference Tournament run came up short in the semifinals as Akron outlasted the Golden Flashes 78-74 Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena. A gutsy second-half performance by junior guard Randal Holt (Cleveland, Ohio) kept the Flashes (21-11; 10-6 MAC) within striking distance in the game's final minute, but the Zips (22-10, 13-3) lead was too much to overcome.
Holt scored 16 of his game-leading 21 points in the second half. He buried two of his four second-half three-pointers in the final 30 seconds, but was the only Kent State player to make a field goal in the final three minutes.
Senior forward Justin Greene (Brooklyn, N.Y.) had a solid second-half performance with 12 of his 20 points and seven of his eight rebounds coming after the break. On the other end of the court, no one in the Akron lineup had more than 15 points on the game, but the Zips' bench outscored the Flashes 26-12.
Akron led 41-36 at halftime, outscoring Kent State 12-0 from behind the arc. The Flashes made 11 of their first 15 field goal attempts, but trailed by nine (35-26) with 6:30 to play in the half.
The Flashes started the second half on a 6-0 run to take a brief lead (42-41), but Akron bounced back with three-pointers on three straight possessions to quickly bring its lead up to eight (50-42). Akron led by as many as 13 (55-42) with 13 minutes left.
The Flashes gradually cut into the lead, bringing it down to five (62-57) with 7:14 remaining. However, every time the Flashes had opportunities to cut into the lead further, the ball never seemed to bounce Kent State's way.
A three by Holt with 28 seconds left, took the lead down to three (74-71). The Zips followed with two made free throws. Holt struck again with 16 seconds to play to cut the lead to two (76-74), but Akron followed with another 2-for-2 trip at the line.
A late three-point attempt by junior Chris Evans (Chesapeake, Va.) bounced off the rim to end hopes of a furious final-minute comeback.
Senior guard Michael Porrini (Massillon, Ohio) hit double figures for the second straight night with 11 points and dished out a game-high nine assists. Senior Justin Manns (Winston-Salem, N.C.) went 3-for-3 from the floor with eight points and five rebounds.
Kent State will wait to find out its postseason fate.
• Kent State fell to 17-3 all-time when Justine Greene scores 20+
• For the first time in 19 MAC Tournaments of scoring 70+, the Golden Flashes suffered a loss.
• Michael Porrini tied his career-high of nine assists. He brought his career total to 310 and is the first two-year player in school history reach 300 assists in his career