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By Allen Moff | Staff writer
Kris Brewer is developing into the clutch, go-to guy the Kent State's men's basketball team needs him to be this season.
The Golden Flashes' 6-foot-3 junior point guard took over down the stretch in Wednesday's 73-64 come-from-behind overtime triumph at Northern Illinois. He scored 19 of his game-high 25 points in the second half and OT, including 10 points in the last 8:35 of regulation -- when Kent State erased a 10-point deficit. He then hit a jumper and 3-pointer in overtime to help put the Flashes up seven and in control.
"Brewer played in the second half and overtime the way he is supposed to play, and that's the way we need him to play the rest of the year," said KSU coach Rob Senderoff.
Brewer's heroics were required after key performers Darren Goodson, Mark Henniger and Derek Jackson were all forced to the bench with four fouls as the Flashes trailed by 13 with just over 10 minutes to play.
"That's what he's supposed to do," said Senderoff. "He's a junior starting for his second year, he's now halfway through his junior year, he's our leading scorer. When you're on the road if you expect to win your best players have gotta play (well). Darren was down with foul trouble and couldn't helped us, and Kris took the load on his shoulders and came up big."
This isn't the first time Brewer has carried the Flashes to victory.
Brewer hit the game-winning free throw with three seconds left in a 79-78 victory over USC Upstate, and scored five points in the final 1:08 of a 58-54 win at the College of Charleston. He was coming off a 16-point second-half performance in Kent State's come-from-behind victory over Ball State on Saturday.
Brewer has also struggled at times. He's failed to reach double-figures in six games this season, and shot a combined 2-of-11 from the field in the first half of his last two contests before breaking loose after halftime.
Brewer currently leads Kent State in scoring at 12.8 points per game. He's shooting just 41.4 percent from the field and 32.1 percent from 3-point range, so there's still plenty of room for improvement, but Senderoff sees Brewer turning into the go-to player the Flashes desperately needed this season after losing their two leading scorers (Chris Evans, Randal Holt) from a year ago.
"He's developing into (our go-to guy)," said Senderoff. "Sometimes that takes time."
Facebook: Allen Moff, Record-Courier