Missed free throws hurt Kent State for the second consecutive game Tuesday afternoon at Princeton’s Jadwin Gym, sending the Golden Flashes to a 73-68 loss and into the new year riding a two-game losing streak for the first time this season.
The Flashes missed several key foul shots in the final 43 seconds to doom them against the Tigers.
KSU made just 19-of-29 free-throw attempts in a 78-70 loss to visiting Cleveland State on Saturday at the M.A.C. Center.
The Flashes (9-4) trailed by 12 at halftime but battled back and the score was tied 65-65 with 1:49 to go before the free-throw troubles began.
Senior forward/center Mark Henniger made one of two with 43.4 seconds left. With 18.8 seconds to play, junior point guard Kris Brewer missed the front end of a 1-and-1.
After the Tigers (10-2) made one of two free throws, Flashes junior guard Derek Jackson followed suit, splitting two foul shots with 15.4 seconds to go. After Princeton made two free throws to make it a four-point game, Brewer again couldn’t come through at the line, making one of two to allow the Tigers to hold on for the win.
“We have good free-throw shooters,” KSU coach Rob Senderoff said. “We just didn’t make them for some reason.”
The Flashes finished 14-of-22 at the line and the Tigers made 29-of-40, including 8-of-10 down the stretch that decided the outcome.
“We competed very hard and had our chance, but didn’t make enough plays down the stretch,” Senderoff said.
Kent State fell behind by 15 points in the first half, but senior forward Darren Goodson’s 3-pointer at the buzzer trimmed the halftime deficit to 38-26.
Led by Dev Manley, who scored 11 of his team-high 17 points in the final 5:48, the Flashes took a page out of Princeton’s book, using a barrage of 3-pointers to rally and take a brief lead. Manley, a junior guard, came off the bench for just the second time this season after struggling against the Vikings over the weekend. Brewer added 15 points and Jackson chipped in 12.
“Our guys competed and stuck with it,” Senderoff said. “We were able to make enough plays to get back in the lead … Dev responded well to how he played against Cleveland State. We need him to play like that moving forward.”