Special to the Record-Courier
Kent State needed to break an 11-year-old school record with 18 3-pointers and come up with a defensive stop at the buzzer to hold off USC Upstate for a 79-78 win in Friday night's Coaches vs. Cancer Classic thriller at the M.A.C. Center.
Kris Brewer split a pair of free throws to give to give the Golden Flashes a one-point lead with five seconds to play. Upstate's Ricardo Glenn then missed a contested 5-footer as the buzzer sounded.
Prior to that finish, the Flashes drained 18 3-pointers in 34 attempts to break the school record set in a classic 116-76 win over Marshall on Feb. 16, 2002.
"That record eclipses the best team we've ever had here at Kent State, the 2001-02 Elite Eight team," said Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff, whose team improved to 5-1.
"This was a great win against a really, really good basketball team with a two-headed monster in Torrey Craig and Ty Greene," Senderoff said.
The Flashes led 42-34 at the half thanks to 11-of-18 shooting from the 3-point arc. When they cooled off after the break, Greene caught fire, pushing the Spartans into the lead as he hit six second-half 3-pointers on his way to a 20-point night.
The two teams traded baskets for most of the final six minutes before a pair of free throws by Kellon Thomas with 31 seconds to play gave Kent State a three-point lead at 78-75. Craig answered for USC Upstate, driving for a layup and drawing a foul for a game-tying three-point play with 19 seconds remaining.
Craig finished with a team-high 21 points. But with the game on the line, the Spartans turned to Glenn for the potential game-winner. While the 6-foot-8 post enjoyed a 13-point, 10-rebound performance, his shot from the right block just missed as time ran out.
"We didn't play great defense all night," said Senderoff. "But we got the stop we needed when we had to."
Devareaux Manley led Kent State with 21 points, breaking the career high he set at Chicago State last season by one point. The sharpshooter from Oakland, Calif., was also the key cog in the Flashes' 3-point shooting machine, hitting 7-of-10 from beyond the arc.
It was Manley who broke the 2001-02 team's record of 16 3-pointers when he hit from the left wing with 5:40 to play to tie the game at 65-65. Derek Jackson matched the record just over one minute earlier when he beat the shot clock on a jumper from above the key.
Jackson scored 15 points in 29 minutes, hitting 6-of-11 from the field, 3-of-5 from the 3-point range and adding two steals.
Darren Goodson added 12 points. The senior reached that total in the first half. When his shots weren't falling in after halftime, Goodson took over the role of point forward and finished with a team-high six assists.
Kent State will close out the Coaches vs. Cancer on Saturday night against Niagara. The tip-off time is scheduled for 7 p.m. USC Upstate will play Western Carolina at 5 p.m. Both games are at the M.A.C. Center.