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De La Rosa's late basket helps Kent State hold off Ohio

Bobcats rally from 12 down in 2nd half but fall short

KENT – Adonis De La Rosa’s basket with 21 seconds left helped Kent State survive after Ohio rallied from 12 down in the second half as the Golden Flashes took a 70-69 victory Friday night at the MAC Center.

Mike Laster missed a mid-range fade-away jumper on Ohio’s ensuing possession, and the Bobcats did not get the ball back after that. Kevin Zabo got the rebound and was fouled. After missing the first, he intentionally missed the second, and Kent State tracked down the rebound as time expired.

Zabo scored a game- and career-high 24 points to lead the Golden Flashes (8-9, 2-2 Mid-American Conference). Jaylin Walker added 15 points. De La Rosa, who scored the go-ahead basket on a hook shot as defender Doug Taylor fell down, finished with 8 points to match Desmond Ridenour.

Teyvion Kirk led Ohio (8-8, 1-3 MAC) with 17 points. Laster had 11 points but struggled from the field for the second straight game, going just 4 of 14. Gavin Block and Jordan Dartis had 10 points each.

Zabo hit a 3-pointer with 13:53 remaining that gave Kent State a 53-41 lead, but Ohio followed with a run capped by a Zach Butler 3-pointer to make it 56-55 with 9:54 remaining.

After Kent State pushed its lead back to six, 65-59, with 5:29 to go on a Ridenour layup, Kirk scored a basket and Block made a 3-pointer to make it a one-point game again. A long Zabo 2-pointer followed, but another Block trey evened the scored a 67 with 2:40 remaining.

Zabo split two free throws on the next possession before Ohio went up for the first time in the second half with a Kirk layup with two minutes left. De La Rosa’s basket in the post accounted for the only points after that and came after the Bobcats had two more chances to add to their lead.

Ohio held a 15-8 lead after eight minutes, but Kent State finished the first half strong to take control. Down 23-19 with six minutes left, the Golden Flashes outscored the Bobcats 21-8 the rest of the way, going up 40-31 at the break on a Walker 3-pointer in the closing seconds.

The Bobcats were hot from deep in the second half, going 7 of 10 after making just 2 of 9 in the first half. They shot 47.2 percent from the field overall and were 10 of 13 at the foul line. The Golden Flashes shot 44.6 percent, were 8 of 18 on 3-pointers and made 12 of 23 free throws.

Butler made all three of his field goal attempts and both of his free throws to score 9 points for Ohio. Kevin Mickle had all 8 of his points in the first half. Kirk had a game-high seven rebounds, and Dartis passed out five assists.

Ohio hosts Toledo at 7 p.m. Tuesday at The Convo.

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