Evans shows how far he has come in MAC Tournament win

Nick Shook


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The maturation of Chris Evans was on full display Thursday night at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

Kent State’s senior forward recorded a double-double midway through the second half, which is not uncommon for him, but in the final six minutes, he proved just how far he has come.

Evans transferred to Kent State prior to the 2011-12 season and was an effective sixth man off the bench for the Flashes, but in 2012-13, he has grown into a star player and First Team All-MAC selection.

It was never more evident than on Thursday night, when Evans singlehandedly carried the Flashes to a 70-68 quarterfinals victory over Buffalo in the Mid-American Conference Tournament.

Evans scored 19 of his 25 points and grabbed nine of his 15 rebounds in the second half, playing all 20 minutes of the final period. Despite the impressive stat line, it was his sensational isolation move against Bulls’ forward Will Regan in the final 90 seconds that left everyone in attendance picking up their jaws off the floor.

Evans took the ball at the top of the 3-point arc, waved off his teammates, and after sizing up his not-so-fleet-footed defender in Regan, drove down the right side of the lane. A hesitation and subsequent crossover left Regan searching for his jock strap as Evans was past him and scooping a layup under a defender’s outstretched arm. The ball glanced beautifully off the glass and through the hoop to put the Flashes ahead 66-61 with 1:21 remaining.

Although Buffalo responded with a quick 3-pointer from Auraum Nuiriankh, the Bulls never again even tied the score.

The play epitomized the night, and the season for Evans, who went on to make two clutch free throws in the final six seconds to again put the dagger through the hearts of the Bulls and their fans, much like he had done just two weeks before.

Now, with Kent State again matched up with rival Akron, it will be on Evans, senior Randal Holt — who finished with 17 points and four rebounds — and the rest of the Flashes to end their tournament drought versus the Zips.

If Evans plays like he did on Thursday night, Kent State will be headed to its first MAC Tournament Championship game since 2011.

Contact Nick Shook at [email protected].