CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Chris Evans led a second half surge for the Kent State Golden Flashes and two other teammates scored in double figures to lead fourth-seeded Kent State past eighth-seeded Buffalo, 70-68, Thursday evening in a Mid-American Conference Tournament third-round game at Quicken Loans Arena.
Evans, an all-MAC first team performer scored 25 points, including six points in the final three minutes. He also grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds.
“In the second half I definitely had the mindset to attack the rim,” Evans said. “I was able to get in the lane, finish and create plays for others as well,” Evans added of his aggressiveness in the second half.
Randal Holt picked up his play in the second half as well, finishing the game with 17 points for the Flashes.
“They’re our two best players,” Kent State Head Coach Rob Senderoff said of Evans and Holt. “If we’re going to advance in this tournament they are going to have to play well.”
The Golden Flashes trailed at halftime 32-30 but outscored the Bulls 40-36, behind 56 percent shooting in the second half.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the way our kids responded,” Coach Senderoff said. “I thought in the first half we showed a ton of jitters and really didn’t play the way we had played since February.”
The Flashes shook off the jitters just in time.
Kent State didn’t take its first lead in the second half until a free throw by Darren Woodson at the 9:38 mark gave them a 50-49 advantage.
The two teams went back-and-forth until the 3:15 mark of the second half when Woodson went to the free throw line once again. The junior hit a pair and gave Kent State a 62-61 lead, a lead that it would never relinquish.
Woodson finished with 12 points.
The Golden Flashes (20-12) advance to the semifinals, where they will play No. 1 Akron on Friday.
Buffalo (14-20) got 23 points and 11 rebounds from Tony Watson. Javon McCrea added 20 for the Bulls.