RECORD-COURIER STAFF REPORT
PRINCETON, NJ — An opportunity to seize a quality win on the road slipped away from the Kent State men's basketball team Tuesday afternoon.
The Golden Flashes rallied from a 15-point deficit in the second half to take a one-point lead with less than a minute left, but four crucial missed free throws in the final 53 seconds helped Princeton secure a 73-68 victory at Jadwin Gym.
“We competed very hard and had our chance, but didn't make enough plays down the stretch,” said KSU coach Rob Senderoff. “I'm proud of the effort. It was a heck of a game.”
The Flashes fell to 9-4 after dropping their second game in a row and third in the last four outings, while the Tigers improved to 10-2 overall and 5-0 at home.
Junior guard Devareaux Manley, who was left out of the starting lineup along with senior forward Darren Goodson, scored 10 straight points to give the Flashes a 65-64 lead with 3:34 to play. Kent State had trailed 38-26 at halftime and 53-44 with 10:17 to play.
Manley finished with a team-high 17 points, hitting 4-of-8 shots from 3-point range.
“Dev responded well to how he played against Cleveland State,” said Senderoff. “We need him to play like that moving forward.”
Senior forward Mark Henniger, who had a school-record string of 41 straight free throws made snapped in his last game against the Vikings, made the first but missed the second free throw to give KSU a 66-65 lead with 53 seconds left.
T.J. Bray, Princeton's leading scorer at over 17 points per game, countered with a pair of free throws to put his team ahead to stay. Bray wound up with 11 points and five assists.
After a costly Kent State turnover, Bray split a pair of charity tosses to but the Tigers up 68-66 with 27 seconds left. Flashes junior point guard Kris Brewer then missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Princeton's Spencer Weisz split a pair to put his team up 69-66.
Kent State's Derek Jackson was fouled and split a pair of free throws, and Princeton's Hans Brase made a pair with 13 seconds left to make it 71-67. Brewer was then fouled and once again made one of two free throws, then Wiesz made a pair to effectively put the game away.
“We have good free-throw shooters. We just didn't make them for some reason,” said Senderoff.
Brewer finished with 15 points and six rebounds, but shot just 5-of-15 from the field. Jackson scored 12 points and grabbed five boards, while Henniger tacked on seven points and 10 rebounds.
Will Barrett led Princeton with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Brase added 15 points and nine boards.
The Flashes will now prepare for their Mid-American Conference opener at home against Ohio on Jan. 8.
“It's going to be a good game, and we need to compete at a high level,” said Senderoff. “Hopefully we'll find a way to make a couple more plays down the stretch.”