Kent State Advances to Semifinals with 76-72 Win Over Western Michigan
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Golden Flashes will meet Akron in the semifinals at 7:00 pm on Friday
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Kent State (21-10) will get another shot at arch rival Akron, after knocking off Western Michigan (14-20) 76-72 in the Mid-American Conference Tournament quarterfinals Thursday night at Quicken Loans Arena. Senior forward Justin Greene (Brooklyn, N.Y.) led both sides with 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the floor.
Coming into the tournament as the No. 4 seed, the Golden Flashes never trailed throughout the game and took a 35-30 lead into the locker room. Kent State then began the second half on a an 11-2 run, capped off by an alley-oop to junior Chris Evans (Chesapeake, Va.). The Golden Flashes extended their lead to 68-49 with eight minutes remaining.
The Broncos took the margin down to six points (70-64) with under four minutes to play, before Greene hit a clutch jumper in the paint, ending a three-minute Kent State field goal drought. A late Bronco three by Mike Douglas made it a one possession game (75-72) with nine seconds remaining, but Greene made a free throw to put the game out of reach.
Greene also led both sides with nine rebounds. He added four assists and took three charges. Evans came off the bench with13 points, helping the Flashes out-score the Bronco bench 20-13.
Four Golden Flashes finished the night in double figures. Junior guard Randal Holt (Cleveland, Ohio) buried three from behind the arc, totaling 13 points and five assists. Senior guard Michael Porrini (Massillon, Ohio) had 10 points and a game-high eight assists. Senior Justin Manns (Winston-Salem, N.C.) added eight points on 3-of-4 shooting.
Western Michigan had five players in double figures, led by Demetrius Ward with 16.
Kent State will take on top-seeded Akron Friday night at 7 p.m., inside Quicken Loans Arena.
Kent State - Western Michigan Post Game Notes
• Including the MAC Tournament, Kent State has won 31 straight games against MAC West opponents.
• The Golden Flashes will be making their 15th appearance in a MAC semifinal.
• Kent State will be facing Akron in the MAC Tournament for the fourth time in six years.
• Kent State has outrebounded five of its last six opponents
• Kent State improved to 17-2 all-time when Justine Greene scores 20+
• The Golden Flashes have now won 18 straight and improved to 21-2 all-time when scoring 70+ in the MAC Tournament
• Kent State had three dunks tonight, including two by Chris Evans. The Golden Flashes now have 99 dunks on the season as a team.
• Justin Greene became only the seventh player in school history to surpass the 1,500 career point mark. Greene now has 1,518 career points.
• Greene also became only the second player to reach the 800 career rebound mark.
• Michael Porrini's eight assists brought his career total to 301 as he becomes the first two-year player in school history reach 300 assists in his career
• Porrini's eight assists tonight also tie his own mark for the second most in an individual game by a Kent State player in the MAC Tournament
Kent State - Western Michigan Post Game Quotes
Opening statement of Kent State Head Coach Rob Senderoff
"We are obviously happy to move on and get to the next round here. We have a tendency to make things very difficult for ourselves. Like always, we did it again tonight. The resiliency of our entire team, these two seniors in particular, the way they played, the energy they came out with, their will, desire, especially to start the second half. To start the second half the way we did and these guys with the rest of our starters deserve a ton of credit for that."
Justin Greene on being aggressive in the game
"It was a focus in mind. Coach always told me since I was a youngster is that good players, don't have back-to-back bad games. I wanted to come in and make an emphasis early. Overall we played a great team effort. Guys were looking for me. I was looking for my guys. We just have to try to carry that out for two more games and hopefully be in control."
Michael Porrini on looking forward to playing Akron
"Not just myself, but the whole coaching staff, our fans, and our university we are all excited. We didn't look past Western Michigan in the back of our mind. We have that chance tomorrow. It's going to be a good one. I know our boys and coaches are going to have us ready. We are going to try to come out with a win and get into the championship on Saturday."