Men’s basketball edges Akron

Zac Sommer

It was a special night in the M.A.C. Center on Friday.

One lucky fan won a new flat-screen TV after hitting a half-court shot, redshirt junior Jimmy Hall recorded his one-thousandth career-point and the Kent State men’s basketball team (18-9, 9-5 Mid-American Conference) took an 85-76 win over the University of Akron (21-6, 10-4 MAC).

“It’s a great rivalry, a great atmosphere and generally speaking, they’re great games,” coach Rob Senderoff said. “Tonight (wasn’t) any different. I’m really proud of our guys in how they competed and how they fought the entire 40 minutes. It’s probably our best game of the year.”

Along with scoring his one-thousandth career-point, Hall finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and three assists.  

Senior center Khaliq Spicer finished the game with 22 points and eight rebounds.

“I just kept playing,” Spicer said. “I had to play through it and help my team get the win.”

After scoring 16 points in the first half, redshirt junior Kellon Thomas finished with 22 points, shooting 78 percent from the field. 

“I fed off the crowd a lot; it was a great atmosphere,” Thomas said. “I started out the game just like any other game and tried to attack when I could. (There were) a lot of openings on the perimeter.”

The Flashes led by as many as 15 points early in the second half before allowing the Zips to tie the game at 61 with 7:06 remaining.

Senior forward Chris Ortiz hit two free throws to start Kent State’s eight point run, putting the game out of reach for Akron.

“I thought we did as good of a job as we could do, making it difficult for them to get good looks,” Senderoff said. “(It was) a team effort, but certainly, our perimeter guys were locked in on that.” 

Kent State is back on the road next week as they look to take on the University at Buffalo (14-12, 7-6 MAC) Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Zac Sommer is a sports reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].