Avery, Walker’s careers conclude in first round of CIT

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Senior Jaylin Walker shoots a three in the second half of the Mid-American Conference game held at Quicken Loans Arena on March 14, 2019.

Ian Kreider

Senior guard Jalen Avery made his seventh 3-pointer of the game with 10 seconds left before Michael Ertel dribbled out the clock in the waning seconds to secure the win for the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

It was the last points of Avery’s Kent State career.

Senior guard Jaylin Walker airballed a desperation 3-point field goal with under a minute to play.

It was the last attempt of his Kent State career.

The Flashes lost 87-77 to the University of Louisiana at Monroe in the first round of the CIT Tournament. The Warhawks improved to 19-15, while Kent State finishes its season at 22-11.

Avery finished with a season-high 23 points on 7-for-16 shooting.

Coach Rob Senderoff called Avery the MVP of the team over his four years at Kent State.

“That’s to take nothing away from (former KSU forward) Jimmy Hall or (Jaylin) Walker or any of the guys that have been on the team, but Jalen’s always had such tremendous leadership qualities,” Senderoff said. “I’m happy for him that tonight he ends his career playing well.”

Walker finished with 15 points on 6-for-17 shooting, and he finishes 16 points shy of Trevor Huffman for the all-time scoring lead in Kent State history.

“He’s an elite scorer,” Senderoff said. “I know sometimes as a fan you may watch and say, ‘Oh that’s a bad shot,’ and as a coach sometimes you’ll say, ‘That’s a bad shot.” A lot of the same shots are the shots that he has made to get us to the NCAA Tournament and to win a lot of games.”

Walker was held scoreless over the final 15 minutes. He had back-to-back turnovers during a 18-6 run by Louisiana at Monroe that gave them a 77-62 lead with 5 minutes left.

The run proved to be the difference as Kent State struggled to get defensive stops down the stretch, and the Warhawks had four players score 14 or more points. Travis Munnings led the way as he finished with a game-high 28 points on 10-for-13 shooting. He made two threes with about four minutes left that helped end any comeback effort.

Junior forward Philip Whittington finished with 15 points on 6-for-7 shooting, and freshman guard Anthony Roberts finished with 14 points, which is his second highest total of the season.

The rest of the Flashes combined for 10 points on 4-for-13 shooting.

“I’m not disappointed in the season,” Senderoff said. “I’m disappointed in the outcome tonight. I’m disappointed in the last time we played Central Michigan in the conference tournament.”

Ian Kreider is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected]