YOUNGSTOWN — Chris Evans scored 24 and Randal Holt hit several clutch baskets on his way to a 21-point night as Kent State held off Youngstown State 85-78 in overtime at the Beeghly Center on Wednesday.
The win put the finishing touches on a perfect 2-0 road trip that was the first venture away from home for seven players on the young Golden Flashes roster.
“This was a big win for us on the road,” said Kent State coach Rob Senderoff. “We had contributions from every guy who stepped on the floor. It’s not easy to win on the road, so this is one our guys should be very proud to get.
“We are young, but I think our guys are starting to understand that as long as they play together and put winning above everything else, we have a chance to do some very good things this season.”
While every Kent State player who saw the floor had a hand in the win, the team’s senior duo paved the way to victory. Evans finished with a double-double, adding 10 rebounds in his 39 minutes. Holt, meanwhile, hit a string of clutch shots in the second half and overtime. No shot was bigger than his NBA 3 with 3:18 to play in extra session to put the Golden Flashes ahead for good.
“Those two seniors have been great all year,” said Senderoff. “They’ve led the way and everyone else has followed. Their leadership has just been fantastic, as has their play.”
Holt shot just 7-for-17 from the field, but converted 5-of-9 from 3-point range. He was ready and willing to take the tough shots when the game was up for grabs.
“I’ve always said that if you don’t believe you are going to make the shot, you won’t make it,” said Holt. “I believe … We knew this was going to be a tough game. We knew Youngstown State was a great offensive team with a lot of scorers. So we tried to come in and grind one out.”
Kendrick Perry led Youngstown State with 26 points. Point guard Blake Allen added 12. Kent State held the Penguins dangerous backcourt duo to a combined 37 percent from the field (12-for-32). Damian Eargle finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds inside for Youngstown State.
Melvin Tabb gave Kent State its own lift under the basket during a 15-point, seven-rebound night in 24 minutes off the Kent State bench. The 6-foot-9 post converted 6-of-9 from the field.
KSU, YOUNGSTOWN ST. 78 (OT)
KENT ST. (5-2) — Ortiz 1-4 0-0 3, Evans 7-13 8-13 24, Henniger 1-3 1-2 3, Thomas 2-7 3-4 7, Holt 7-17 2-2 21, Pope 1-7 1-1 3, Brewer 1-2 0-0 2, Frank 0-0 0-0 0, Tabb 6-9 3-3 15, Goodson 3-7 1-1 7. Totals 29-69 19-26 85.
YOUNGSTOWN ST. (3-4) — Hain 2-7 1-2 5, Eargle 7-10 4-7 18, Allen 5-15 0-0 12, Perry 7-17 10-11 26, Amiker 2-3 3-3 7, Belin 2-6 1-2 5, Cole 2-3 1-2 5, Chojnacki 0-0 0-0 0, Weber 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 27-64 20-27 78.
Halftime—Youngstown St. 36-34. End Of Regulation—Tied 68. 3-Point Goals—Kent St. 8-17 (Holt 5-9, Evans 2-3, Ortiz 1-2, Pope 0-1, Thomas 0-2), Youngstown St. 4-20 (Perry 2-6, Allen 2-8, Cole 0-1, Belin 0-1, Hain 0-2, Weber 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Kent St. 46 (Evans 10), Youngstown St. 38 (Eargle 10). Assists—Kent St. 10 (Thomas 3), Youngstown St. 13 (Cole 5). Total Fouls—Kent St. 22, Youngstown St. 18. A—3,108.
ST. FRANCIS 81, KENT STATE 67
After trailing by eight at the half, Kent State rallied to bring the game within reach but could not hold off a hot-firing St. Francis as the Golden Flashes fell 81-67 on Wednesday night at the M.A.C. Center in Kent.
Amber Dunlap was a spark off the bench for KSU (0-6), netting a career-high 16 points. Jamie Hutcheson scored 10 points and grabbed nine boards.
Tamzin Barroilhet and Diamon Beckford had 13 and 11 points, respectively.
St. Francis is 4-1.