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Men’s basketball bounces back in overtime

Cadie Pierce
Kent State teammates congratulate junior guard Mike Bekelja following a made three-pointer during the Akron game on Jan. 19, 2024.

After starting its Mid-American Conference schedule 2-4, the Kent State men’s basketball team escaped Bowling Green with a 90-84 overtime win Tuesday.

In the team’s previous game against Akron, junior guard Jalen Sullinger scored eight points but bounced back against the Falcons, scoring 30 points on 52% shooting.

Redshirt junior Voncameron Davis followed Sullinger with 21 points and 10 rebounds – his first double-double of the season. 

Junior Cli’ron Hornbeak returned from a seven-game absence due to an injury suffered against Oregon on Dec. 21, scoring eight points.

The first half was back and forth until the Flashes (10-9, 3-4) increased their lead to 28-17 with eight minutes remaining behind a Sullinger layup. 

Bowling Green then went on an 18-7 run to close out the half at 35-35.

Kent State started the second half slow until graduate student forward Tyem Freeman scored a layup to regain the lead at 52-51 with 12 minutes left. 

The Flashes would hold that lead until the Falcons took a 71-69 lead with two minutes remaining.

Kent State saw themselves down three points with a minute and a half remaining until redshirt senior Giovanni Santiago hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 73-73. 

With 30 seconds left in the game, graduate student center Chris Payton stepped to the line for two free throws with the game tied at 74-74.

However, the preseason All-MAC forward missed both attempts, giving the Falcons a chance to win the game in regulation. 

In the final seconds of regulation, BGSU missed a layup, sending the game into overtime.

In overtime, the Flashes jumped to an 82-76 lead behind three-pointers from Sullinger and Freeman. 

Kent State shot 4-of-5 from the field, 2-of-2 from behind the arch, and connected on six free throws. 

The KSU defense limited Bowling Green to only three made field goals in overtime.

Next up, the Flashes return home for another conference matchup against Ohio on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

Kent State has won four consecutive games against the Bobcats and seven consecutive inside the M.A.C.C.

Matt Franos is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Cadie Pierce, Photographer
Cadie Pierce (she/they) is a Senior Integrative Studies major and Photojournalism minor and staff photographer for KentWired/Kent Stater. Cadie can be reached at [email protected].

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