2018 MAC Tournament: Kent State stays alive; beats Ball State 76-73
Written by Rob DiFranco on March 8, 2018
Kent State’s Mid-American Conference Championship defense rolls on. The Flashes defeated Ball State 76-73 on Thursday at the Quicken Loans Arena in another close tournament game.
Kent State played their second consecutive nail-biter despite a lead that at one point stretched to 10 points in the 2nd half. Junior Jaylin Walker scored 13 of his 19 points in the 2nd half to help Kent State in the game.
Senior Kevin Zabo poured in 16 points 7 rebounds and 6 assists as well.
A late push from the Cardinals, led by Tayler Persons and Tahjai Teague fell short. Ball State failed to get a clean look on the final possession of the game after a full-court heave from Persons to Trey Moses.
2017 MAC Tournament MVP Jaylin Walker was a huge part of the Kent State victory and he know’s he has to bring his A-game every night, “March Madness, win or go home, that’s my mindset, so I got to bring it every night and win.”
Kent State’s last five contests including Monday’s last second win against Northern Illinois, have ben decided by an average of 2.8 points.
Late foul trouble for De La Rosa and Pippen forced Kent State Head Coach Rob Senderoff’s hand. Senderoff stayed the course and kept De La Rosa in the ballgame late, which paid off.
Senderoff explained his decision by saying,”You know, at some point we were trying to get through the game to some degree because they were both in foul trouble, but the last four minutes of the game you’ve got to have your guys on the court and they’ve got to be able to make plays without fouling and we did that. They were still aggressive and they were still confident and we were able to make enough stops that we needed to get.”
The Flashes will take on the number one seeded Buffalo Bulls, a team they’ve beaten once already this season. The Flashes came back from an 18 point deficit to end the Bulls undefeated conference season.
“We’re going to have to compete really, really hard. We’re going to have to play well. The biggest thing is we’re going to have to do sort of the same things we did tonight when things aren’t going well in a certain area, we’ve got to figure it out and figure it out quickly and stay together through ups and downs and compete as hard as we can and whatever happens, happens.”
Be sure to keep it locked on blacksquirrelradio.com all weekend for coverage of Kent State’s MAC Tournament run.