KENT: Kent State senior Randal Holt couldn’t have picked a better time to put his name in the record books.
Holt made five 3-pointers to lead KSU to a 77-62 Mid-American Conference win over Eastern Michigan on Saturday night at the M.A.C. Center.
The 3-pointers served notice that Holt has finally broken out of his nearly season-long shooting slump and, in the process, he passed Trevor Huffman as the Golden Flashes’ all-time-leading 3-point shooter.
“I’ve been though some things in my life and I’m so blessed and thankful to even be here at Kent State,” Holt said. “So to do something like that is an amazing feeling, to break a milestone that’s held up some years now.”
Huffman set the record in 2002 with 208.
Holt, a Glenville High school product, made 5-of-10 from beyond the arc to give him 211 career 3-pointers. He finished with 17 points to lead three double-figure scorers for the Flashes.
Flashes senior guard Chris Evans contributed 15 points and a career-high five steals to go along with three assists, and junior forward Darren Goodson chipped in 12 points, three assists and three rebounds.
But even more meaningful than the personal accomplishments, Holt’s performance helped Kent State (12-10, 3-5) snap a four-game losing streak.
“More importantly, it felt good to get the win,” said Holt, who put a woeful 1-for-10 3-point shooting effort in Wednesday’s loss to Northern Illinois behind him. He also tied his career high with six assists.
“We were on a four-game losing streak and we just committed ourselves to doing whatever it took to get the win,” Holt said. “We had to find a way to get this win and I’m proud of our guys for coming out and playing the way I know we can play — we defended, we rebounded and that led to a victory.”
The Flashes extended their winning streak over the Eagles (10-11, 3-4) to 18 in a row, a streak that began in 1998.
KSU was hitting its outside shots over EMU’s 2-3 zone from the start, and it seemed to bother the Eagles on offense as well. Only one EMU player managed to reach double-figure scoring. Reserve senior guard Derek Thompson matched Holt with 17 points to lead the Eagles.
“We just needed a win, period,” KSU coach Rob Senderoff said of the Flashes’ first home win in the MAC. “We needed a win for everyone’s sake — for our players, our coaches, for my wife.”
Kent State’s offense was in good form from the start, twice pulling away with large leads and withstanding Eastern Michigan’s mini runs.
The Flashes led 32-26 at halftime and quickly extended their lead in the second half.
Goodson increased the advantage to double digits with back-to-back baskets that sparked a 10-0 run.
“Coming out and playing hard just wasn’t good enough,” Goodson said. “We learned that [in close home losses] against Ohio and Akron — it’s just not good enough. We have to also play smart and play together. If we do that, get guys who shoot good percentages like Randal open shots, then we shoot good percentages as a team and we win games.”
Stephanie Storm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Kent State blog at http://www.ohio.com/flashes. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SStormABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.