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Staff and wire report
BUFFALO -- Kent State's men's basketball team ran out of rallies Saturday night at Alumni Arena.
After overcoming double-digit second-half deficits to win their past two games, the Golden Flashes fell behind the Bulls after a slow start to the second half and never recovered, suffering a 71-60 setback that evens their Mid-American Conference record at 2-2 (11-6 overall).
Buffalo (9-5, 3-1 MAC) gained a measure of revenge after suffering three losses to Kent State a year ago. Ironically, senior forward Javon McCrea, who torched the Flashes in all three games last season (28.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.3 blocks per game), wasn't a major factor. He finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.
Instead, it was 6-foot-8 junior forward Will Regan who did the damage this time, producing 25 points, 10 rebounds and a pair of blocks.
"We did a pretty good job on McCrea, but Regan killed us and we didn't do a good enough job overall on the defensive end," said KSU coach Rob Senderoff. "They made a ton of toughness plays in the second half. They did the things needed to win, and we didn't."
Junior Devareaux Manley led Kent State with 17 points, hitting 3-of-8 3-pointers, but the team's brightest stars struggled against the Bulls.
Junior point guard Kris Brewer finished with 11 points and three assists, but had three turnovers and didn't reach double-figure points until hitting a pair of meaningless 3-pointers late in the game. Fellow starting junior guard Derek Jackson shot just 3-of-9 from the field for seven points, while senior forward Darren Goodson managed just two points and five assists before fouling out for the second straight game.
The Flashes hit just 6-of-22 3-pointers (27.3 percent) and shot only 6-of-13 from the free-throw line. Meanwhile, the Bulls hit 21-of-23 charity tosses.
Kent State led 29-27 at the break following a late Manley 3-pointer thanks in large part to a defense that forced nine Bulls turnovers.
"We played well in the first half, but we need to be more consistent," said Senderoff. "You can't play the way we did in the second half and expect to win on the road in this league."
Buffalo flipped all of those numbers around while dominating the second 20 minutes, and Regan enjoyed the biggest turnaround. After totaling just six points and one rebound in the opening half, Regan produced 19 points, nine boards and two blocks in the second half.
Regan led a 3-point barrage in the early minutes of the second half as the Bulls built a double-digit lead and never looked back. As a team, Buffalo connected on 6-of-11 shots from beyond the arc after the break.
Three free throws by Shannon Evans capped a 16-4 run that gave the Bulls a 52-40 lead with 10:27 left, and the Flashes were never closer than nine points the rest of the way.
Kent State will host Western Michigan (9-6, 2-1) on Thursday at 7 p.m.