Kent State’s men’s basketball team used a formula that has worked time and again this season as the Golden Flashes overcame a sluggish first half performance to earn a 75-74 win over visiting Tulsa (23-12 overall, 10-6 in Conference USA) in the opening round of the National Invitation Tournament (N.I.T.) at the M.A.C. Center in Kent, Ohio on Wednesday (3/17) evening. This was the sixth time during the 2009-2010 season that the Golden Flashes have overcome a first half deficit of six or more points to win.
KSU trailed 35-28 at the intermission thanks in large part to poor shooting (1-10 from behind the three-point arc and 33.3% overall) and having the Golden Hurricanes win the battle of the boards 25-14. Senior center Jordan Jerome led Tulsa with 14 points on five of five field goals in the first half. Jerome finished a team-leading 23 points and 12 rebounds. Joining Jerome at the top of the Golden Hurricanes’ first half scoring outburst was junior guard Justin Hurtt who tallied 10 points in the opening stanza. Hurtt finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
The Golden Flashes kicked up the intensity on both ends of the court in the second half to outscore Tulsa 47-39, outshoot UT 53.3% to 41.4% and tie the Golden Hurricanes with 18 rebounds each.
Kent State benefitted from a truly balanced offensive attack as six Golden Flashes scored in double figures with senior guard Chris Singletary registering a team-high 16 points. He also tallied a team-best seven assists. Junior guard Rodriguez Sherman chipped in 15 points. Senior forward Anthony Simpson added 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Freshman Randall Holt came off the bench for 11 points. Senior guard Tyree Evans and sophomore forward Justin Greene each scored 10 points for KSU.
Kent State (24-9 overall, 13-3 MAC) will face the winner of the Illinois versus Stony Brook match up at a date, time and location to be determined.