First half run catapults Flashes to their second “Power 5” win of season


Junior guard Jaylin Walker reacts to a Kent State turnover during the 4th quarter as the Flashes tried to rally late against Northeastern Monday, Dec. 18, 2017, at the M.A.C. Center. Kent State lost, 81-69.

Ian Kreider

Senior guard Jalen Avery stood at half court watching the seconds tick off the shot clock.

He attacked the basket, but ultimately took a dribble drive pull up with a hand in his face with eight seconds remaining on the shot clock with Kent State leading 64-63 in waning seconds of the Flashes (9-2) matchup against Oregon State.

Senior guard Jaylin Walker soared in for his team-high seventh rebound. The Beavers (7-4) intentionally fouled Walker with 12.6 seconds left in the game.

Walker stepped to the line and knocked down a pair of free throws to push the Flashes lead to 66-63, the margin the Flashes would win by after a last-second shot by Stephen Thompson Jr. clanked off the rim.

The Flashes secured their second “Power 5” win of the season, which is a feat that it hasn’t accomplished since 1974.

Walker scored a game-high 26 points, including a one-dribble pull-up as the shot clock expired to push the Flashes’ lead to 64-60 with 1:52 left.

The late game heroics were made possible by a 35-12 first half run after the Beavers jumped out to a 21-7 lead with 12:52 left.

Avery and Walker combined for 19 points during the run. Walker finished the half with 13 points, while shooting 4-for-4 from the field.

Walker has averaged 25.3 points per game in the six games he has played this season, which leads the Mid-American Conference, although it is a smaller sample size. He has had some of his best games against the three “Power 5” teams Kent State has faced off against this season. He has had a game-high in scoring during each matchup, while shooting 50% from the field, and 15-for-24 from deep.

Avery finished with 16 points, which is his second-highest total since Walker’s return. Junior guard Antonio Williams finished with 11 points, and he was the only other Kent State player to finish in double digits. He also locked down Thompson Jr. on his three point attempt in the waning seconds to help secure the win.

The Flashes are off to their best start under coach Rob Senderoff, who tied Kent State’s all-time win record of 148 wins held by Jim McDonald.

Ian Kreider is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]

The Flashes look to continue their hot start Dec. 28 as they take on Albany (4-9) inside the M.A.C Center at 7pm.