- IMAGE: The Kent State University men's basketball team gathers just before tip-off of the championship game for the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
- IMAGE: Kent State's Michael Porrini protects the ball during the Mid-American Conference Tournament championship game.
- IMAGE: Kent State's Carlton Guyton scrambles for a loose ball during the championship game for the Mid-American Conference Tournament in Cleveland.
- IMAGE: Head Coach Geno Ford looks to an official after a call in overtime during the championship game of the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
- IMAGE: Kent State guard Rodriquez Sherman steals the ball and eyes a last-second shot attempt as time expires at the Quicken Loans Arena, in Cleveland.
Golden Flashes to Play Colorado
9 p.m. March 22
Kent State's post season run continued on Sunday afternoon with a 72-68 win at Fairfield that advanced the Golden Flashes to the NIT quarterfinals for the first time since the 2000 season. The victory sets up a meeting at Colorado on Tuesday night with a trip to the NIT final four in Madison Square Garden on the line. Game time is 9:00 p.m. and can be seen live on ESPN. The Water Street Tavern in Kent will be hosting a watch party for Golden Flash fans.
Sophomore guard Randal Holt (Cleveland, Ohio/Bedford) scored 22 points and junior guard Carlton Guyton (Chicago, Ill. / Mineral Area C.C. [Mo.]) added 16 as Kent State becomes the first school to win its first two games of the tournament on the road since the NIT went to its current 32-team format in 2007. Junior guard Michael Porrini (Massillon, Ohio/Gulf Coast C.C. [Fla.]) was also in double figures with 11 points.
"That's the good thing about our team. We have four or five guys that can go off at any time," said Holt, who made 8 of 12 shots, including 4-for-7 from 3-point range. "You never know who it's going to be."
The Golden Flashes (25-11) took control of a tight game in which neither team led by more than eight points with a 6-0 burst midway through the second half. Junior Justin Manns (Winston-Salem, N.C./Owens C.C. [Ohio]) capped off the spurt with dunk for two of his 10 points to give Kent State a 58-52 lead with 9:08 remaining. Fairfield (25-8), the 2011 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season champions, cut the lead back down to 60-58 with 6:52 left, but another 6-0 burst by the Golden Flashes kept them in front and opened up the largest lead of the game.
Senior guard Rodriquez Sherman (Indianapolis, Ind./Ben Davis) capped off the second 6-0 spurt of the half driving down the lane for a dunk over Fairfield's 7'0" center Ryan Olander for an eight-point (66-58) advantage with 4:19 remaining. The Stags fought back once again, but Kent State, which had not shot a free throw the entire game to that point, made 4-5 from the line in the final 45 seconds to seal its sixth win in the last seven games.
After shooting just 19 percent his previous two games, Fairfield's Derek Needham hit almost everything in the first half, scoring 18 of his 20 points as the teams went into the break tied at 35. Olander had 15 points and Yorek Hawkins finished with 11 for the Stags which shot 45.0 percent for the game, but 26.9 percent (7-26) from three.
Fairfield entered second in the nation with only 57.9 points allowed, but Kent State's full-court offense dictated the tempo. The Golden Flashes shot 50 percent in both halves, finishing the game 30 for 60, and making 8 of 19 three-pointers.
- Justin Greene (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln) had a team high eight rebounds to become the first Kent State player since Trent Grooms in 1979-80 to grab over 300 rebounds in a season.
- Sherman played in his school record 136th career game. Sherman passed the previous mark of 135 held by Assistant Coach Jordan Mincy (2005-09).
- Holt is shooting 11-20 from three in the last three games.
Kent State 72 - Fairfield 68
Randal Holt scored 22 points and Carlton Guyton added 16 to lead Kent State over Fairfield 72-68 on Sunday and reach the NIT quarterfinals.
Rodriguez Sherman's 3-pointer gave Kent State a 52-49 lead with just over 11 minutes left, and the Golden Flash never lost it in front of 3,954 fans at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard.
Kent State will play top seed Colorado on Tuesday night.
After shooting just 19 percent his previous two games, Derek Needham hit almost everything in the first half, scoring 18 points to help the Stags (25-8) go into the break tied at 35. But after going 7 for 11 the first 20 minutes, he scored two points in the second half and finished with 20. Ryan Olander had 15 points and Yorek Hawkins finished with 11 for the Stags. Michael Porrini had 11 points for Kent State.
Kent State 71 - Saint Mary’s 70
Kent State led only once in the second half, but was on top when it matter most as junior forward Justin Greene made the go-ahead layup with five seconds remaining to send the Golden Flashes past Saint Mary’s 71-70 in the first round of the NIT on Tuesday night.
After Greene’s go-ahead basket, Saint Mary’s (25-9) had one last chance when Mickey McConnell raced up court in the final seconds and missed an unimpeded layup attempt just before the buzzer sounded.
Kent State (24-11) advances to the second round of the NIT for the second consecutive year after overcoming a 12-point second-half deficit.
Junior guard Michael Porrini scored a team-high 19 points while junior guard Carlton Guyton and sophomore Randal Holt each added 13.
The Golden Flashes were down by six with 2:25 left, but closed the game on a 10-3 run.