KENT — Jaylin Walker and stingy defense led the Kent State men's basketball team to its second double-digit victory of the week on Saturday.

The Golden Flashes' senior shooting guard poured in 31 points and added eight rebounds, three assists and two steals in a 78-68 victory over visiting Northern Illinois at the M.A.C. Center.

Walker, who scored 21 points in Tuesday’s 66-52 win at Ohio University, increased his Mid-American Conference-leading average to 22.5 points per game by making 11-of-22 field goals and 6-of-7 free throws along with three 3-pointers in 12 attempts.

The Huskies (10-8, 3-2 MAC) didn't reach 50 points until nearly four minutes remained in a game that was nearly in the Flashes' pocket by that point.

“We won with our defense, won by not turning the ball over [eight turnovers], won by sticking with the game plan for 40 minutes,” KSU coach Rob Senderoff said. “We didn't shoot the ball well in the first half, but we stuck with it and got ourselves a really important win.”

Star junior guard Eugene German wound up with 22 points for Northern Illinois, but scored 12 in the final 6:35 with his team trying to scramble back from a large deficit. He ranks second to Walker on the MAC scoring charts at 20.7 points per outing.

Flashes senior point guard Jalen Avery struggled with his shot (1-of-8 field goals, five points), but dished out four assists with just one turnover in 39 minutes and spent much of his day shadowing German.

“Jalen Avery is a good, solid defender. He's played [German] a number of times, so he knows what his tendencies are,” Senderoff said. “I thought he did a good job, and our frontcourt guys did a good job with ball-screen defense.”

Junior guard Antonio Williams contributed 13 points and five assists, and senior forward Akiean Frederick tacked on 12 points off the bench on 4-of-5 shooting from the field for Kent State. Starting forward Philip Whittington (eight points, five rebounds) was able to play just 19 minutes due to foul trouble.

“[Frederick] has played his best games of the year back-to-back,” Senderoff said. “His energy really helped us today, and he scored as well.”

The Flashes (14-4, 3-2) led 11-8 out of the gate, but fell behind 19-11 after going over five minutes without scoring. A 3-pointer by Avery ended the drought, then a 3-pointer by Walker and a jumper by Whittington cut the deficit to 27-26. The Huskies wound up leading 30-28 at the half despite getting just four points from German.

A fast start to the second half put the Flashes ahead to stay. Walker made a 3-pointer, then turned his own steal into a dunk that put Kent State ahead 35-32. A jumper by Walker gave the Flashes a 49-36 lead with 11:02 to go, and they stayed ahead by seven or more the rest of the way.

German canned a 3-pointer to cut KSU's lead to 72-65 at the 1:09 mark, but the Flashes closed it out by making 6-of-7 free throws down the stretch.

The Flashes shot 59 percent from the floor and outscored the Huskies 50-38 in the decisive second half.

Kent State will host Toledo (15-3, 3-2) on Tuesday.