KENT: Kent State set a school record with 18 3-pointers Friday night but ended up needing every one of them and a free throw by Kris Brewer with 5.1 seconds left to down a veteran-led University of South Carolina Upstate.
Junior guard Dev Manley led the way with seven 3-pointers for a team-high 21 points and the Golden Flashes escaped with a 79-78 victory during the second day of play in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic hosted at the at the M.A.C. Center.
In surpassing the previous school mark of 16 3-pointers (thanks to a whopping 34 attempts), Kent State finished just two shy of matching the Mid-American Conference record of 20 3-pointers in a game, which came on Jan. 7, 2004, in a game between Ohio and Duquesne. The NCAA record for 3-pointers in a game is 28 by Troy in 2004.
The 3-point theme was established from the start as KSU (5-1) made 9-of-12 (75 percent) from 3-point range in the first half.
Holding a 31-22 lead with 6:38 to play in the half, only four KSU points had come off two-point baskets.
But USC Upstate (2-3) joined in on all the 3-point fun. The teams combined for 15 3-pointers in the half, including 11 by Kent State, as the Flashes held a 42-34 advantage at halftime.
The break did nothing to cool off either team’s sharp shooters. The second half started with another barrage of 3-pointers. The Spartans’ first four baskets came on 3-pointers and Manley nailed his fifth 3-pointer for the Flashes.
However, as Kent State missed a handful of easy shots at the rim in the middle of USC Upstate’s early second-half 3-point run, the Spartans were able to catch up quickly and took a 48-47 lead with 15:08 left in the game.
When the Flashes’ shooting touch went away, it did so for nearly 10 minutes. Kent State went without a field goal until junior guard Derek Jackson made a 3-pointer with 8:51 to go to put KSU back in front 55-52.
Jackson’s timely 3-pointer ignited another long-distance surge.
The Flashes made five more before the final one — once again by Jackson (15 points) — gave the Flashes a 74-70 lead with 2:25 to go.
Sophomore guard Kellon Thomas made two free throws to give KSU a 78-75 lead with 32 seconds to go. But Upstate came out of timeout and converted a three-point play to tie the score 78-78 with 17.8 left on the clock.
KSU called a timeout to draw up a final play. Manley was covered in the corner, and Brewer, a junior point guard, took the ball to the rim and was fouled on the drive. Brewer made one of two free throws with 5.1 seconds to go, and the Spartans missed a close shot on the side of the rim at the buzzer.
Stephanie Storm can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Kent State blog at http://www.ohio.com/flashes. Follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SStormABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.