Kent State (1-2), fresh off a 38 percent shooting performance in a loss to Ohio State, missed five of its first six shots from the floor as the Bonnies sprinted out to a 14-2 lead.
And things never improved for the Flashes, who went on to shoot 34 percent for the game (22-of-64). Meanwhile, St. Bonaventure converted 27-of-51 attempts from the field (53 percent), including 7-of-13 3-pointers.
The Bonnies (3-0) also scored 14 points off 25 Kent State turnovers, 11 of which came in the first 10-plus minutes of the game as St. Bonaventure increased its lead to 29-12 thanks also to three 3-pointers by sub Isaac King (14 points).
The Flashes made one run behind former area high school standouts Nate Meers and Mike Perry.
Meers, the sharpshooter from Stow High School, came off the bench to drain a jumper and a 3-pointer, while center Mike Perry (Barberton) hit a short jumper at the buzzer as Kent State closed the first half with a 7-2 run to creep within 14 at halftime (42-28).
Meers then nailed a 3-pointer and a short jumper, and Perry added a layup as Kent State cut the deficit to 43-35 with 17:12 remaining.
But the Bonnies' Rashaan Palmer (20 points) quickly brought the Flashes' rally to a halt. The 6-foot-5 forward hit a short jumper and a free throw to ignite a 16-3 St. Bonaventure run, and later added a dunk as the Bonnies took an insurmountable 59-38 lead with 11:40 remaining.
"One of our objectives in the second half was to get the ball inside," said Kent State coach Gary Waters. "We ran into trouble because our two supposedly dominant post players (John Whorton and Geoffrey Vaughn) were in foul trouble. St. Bonaventure is a good team. If they stay together, they could cause some problems."
Kent State's guards continued to have problems shooting. After making just 6-of-16 field goals against the Buckeyes, Ed Norvell, Scott Effertz and John Callaway combined to miss all 17 of their field goal attempts against the Bonnies.
Meers finished with a career-high 16 points in 18 minutes, as he drilled 6-of-11 shots from the field and 4-of-9 3-pointers. Aside from Meers, Kent State made just 1-of-9 3-pointers.
Freshman forward Rashaun Warren also gave the Flashes a spark off the bench, finishing with 15 points and 7 rebounds, while Perry scored 8 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. Perry outscored the rest of Kent State's starters 8-7.
The Flashes return to action Saturday at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center against Loyola of Maryland. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.
St. Bonaventure 84, Kent State 59
(at St. Bonaventure, N.Y.)
Blocked shots _ Kent State (1): Whorton. St. Bonaventure (9): Cyrus 6, Van Paassen 2, Durham. Turnovers _ Kent State 25-19. Technical fouls _ Palmer. Attendance _ 5,093.