Walker finishes with career-high coming off bench in homecoming

Kent+State+guard+Jaylin+Walker+drives+to+the+hoop+during+the+Flashes+78-68+win+over+Akron+on+Feb.+17%2C+2018.+Walker+scored+a+season-high+27+points+in+the+win.

Kent State guard Jaylin Walker drives to the hoop during the Flashes’ 78-68 win over Akron on Feb. 17, 2018. Walker scored a season-high 27 points in the win.

Ian Kreider

Junior guard Jaylin Walker showed Kent State (6-1) what it was missing in his absence as he scored 36 points in his second game back from suspension and led the Flashes on a 14-2 run over the final 1:36 to take home the 76-72 win over Detroit Mercy (3-4).

A Detroit native, Walker has scored 58 points in two games this season, including 9-for-9 from the line against the Titans. The Flashes finished 20-for-24 from the stripe, which helped them overcome a 25-4 second chance points advantage by Detroit Mercy. 

This is the first time Kent State has started 6-1 since 2013. That team went on to finish 16-16, losing to Miami (OH) in its first game of the Mid-American Conference Tournament.

The Flashes also overcame a season-high 14 turnovers in the win. Senior guard Jalen Avery finished with a season-low 3 points on 0-for-9 shooting and 0-for-8 from behind the arc. The Flashes starting five combined for 24 points on 31.3 percent shooting from the field.

Junior guard Antonio Williams added 13 points on 4-for-9 shooting, but cooled off after scoring 6 points in the first 12 minutes.

Walker made his presence known late in the first half as he closed out the final 1:32 with back-to-back 3-pointers as part of an 8-0 solo run that gave Kent State a 39-32 lead heading into the locker room. 

Detroit Mercy grabbed its first lead of the second half with 6:26 left after a Derrien King 3-pointer found the bottom of the net.

Shortly after, Walker checked back into the game and immediately missed a shot. Subsequently, he would miss 4 of his next 5 shots, but he was able to positively impact the game through hustle. He grabbed 3 offensive rebounds over his cold stretch. Over the final 1:22, Walker did not miss a shot and knocked down each of his 3 free throws, including the final 2 that iced the game, 76-72, with 2 seconds left.

Walker and the Flashes look to continue their fast start to the season on Saturday at 4 p.m. inside the M.A.C. Center as they take on Norfolk State (3-5).

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