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Sophomore guard Jaylin Walker hit a tough runner in the lane with 4.1 seconds left to give the Kent State men's basketball team a 68-66 victory over Ohio University in the Mid-American Conference Tournament semifinals Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
The No. 6 seed Golden Flashes (21-13) will meet top-seed Akron (26-7) in the championship game tonight at 7:30 p.m.
The Bobcats (20-11) had a chance to take the lead with 10.8 seconds left, but star junior guard Jaaron Simmons split a pair of free throws to tie the contest at 66. Walker grabbed the rebound after the second charity toss rimmed out, raced down the floor, bulled his way to the basket and tossed in a soft runner to put the Flashes up two with 4.1 seconds left.
Walker then cut off a driving Simmons, who could not get a shot off before time expired.
Kent State star senior forward Jimmy Hall produced his sixth double-double in the last seven games, finishing with team-highs of 22 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Junior guard Kevin Zabo scored 15 points off the bench, hitting 4-of-6 3-pointers, while freshman MItch Peterson added eight points and six boards.
Walker shot just 3-of-11 from the field and missed all six 3-point attempts, but hit the bucket that mattered while finishing with nine points and nine rebounds.
Simmons led Ohio with 25 points and seven rebounds.
For more on Friday's game and Saturday's championship game, see the print and online editions of the Record-Courier.