CLEVELAND– The defending MAC Tournament Champion Kent State Golden Flashes edged out Ball State, 76-73, in game two of today’s quadruple header.
Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff found a lineup that worked and stuck with it, as three of his starters, Jaylin Walker, Jalen Avery and Kevin Zabo, played 35-plus minutes each. The same three-guard lineup has now racked up six straight wins in the MAC Tournament over the last two seasons.
Walker, who had a huge tournament last year, picked up where he left off in 2018 by leading Kent State with 19 points. Both of his backcourt assassin teammates also stepped up with great performances, as Kevin Zabo and Jalen Avery put up 16 each.
For Zabo, the 16 points were just one facet of his monster game. Zabo yanked down seven boards and dished out six assists along the way to victory. Leading all players on the glass, was Kent State center Adonis De La Rosa with 10. The big man finished with a double-double as he also scored 17 points.
As they did last year, Kent State used the long ball to put up punches in bunches, finishing 8-of-21 from beyond the arc. Ball State actually played the cleaner game, only giving away five turnovers compared to Kent State’s nine, but it simply wasn’t enough to grab the win. The leading scorer for Ball State was Taylor Persens with 19.
Kent State will now go on to play top-seeded Buffalo tomorrow night at Quicken Loans Arena. Buffalo won earlier today, 89-74 over the Central Michigan.