After two close losses, Kent State got its first Mid-American Conference win on Saturday afternoon, beating Western Michigan 80-54 at the M.A.C. Center.
Kent State moves back above .500, improving to 4-3 on the season, while the Broncos drop to 2-7.
Senior guard Michael Nuga led the Flashes in scoring with 26 points, including 12 from three-point territory. He paved the way for a 53 point second-half for the Flashes, after the teams were tied at 27 entering halftime.
Coach Rob Senderoff’s squad began to play more aggressively and attack the rim after halftime, as senior big men Justyn Hamilton and Tervell Beck added 10 and eight points, respectively, while grabbing a combined 13 rebounds. The two helped push the Flashes to 20 second chance points.
Sophomore guard Giovanni Santiago gave the Flashes a much-needed boost on offense early in the second half, adding 13 points and three assists. Together with Nuga, the guards dictated the pace and helped Kent State shoot nearly 60% from field goal range after halftime.
WMU’s top scorer was sophomore guard B. Artis White, who put up 12 points on 4-10 shooting. The Flashes’ stepped up defensively in the second half as well, holding the Broncos to 9-23 shooting and 1-9 from three.
On Tuesday, the Flashes will travel to Mount Pleasant, Michigan, to take on Central Michigan (5-6) at 4:30 pm. Kent State will look to even up their conference record as they go into their fourth MAC matchup of the season at 1-2 in conference.
Mason Lawlor is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected]