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Hot-shooting Kent State takes down Ohio 87-72

Golden Flashes connected on 17 of 31 attempts from 3-point range

KENT – Troy Simons and Anthony Roberts combined for 48 points to lead Kent State to an 87-72 victory against Ohio on Saturday at the MAC Center.

Simons finished with 27 points, while Roberts scored 21. Antonio Williams contributed 16 points, and C.J. Williamson had 14 points off the bench for the Golden Flashes (17-8, 7-5 Mid-American Conference), who shot 53.1% for the game, including 17 of 31 (54.8%) from long range.

"There wasn't the disruption that we've had," Ohio coach Jeff Boals said. "I think we got away from that disruption. Some of it was them and some of it was us. And when you start hitting shots continually, that helps your confidence.”

Jason Preston led the Bobcats (12-13, 4-8 MAC) with 20 points. Lunden McDay, Sylvester Ogbonda and Ben Vander Plas added 14, 13 and 12 points, respectively. Preston finished two rebounds shy of a triple-double, finishing with 12 assists and eight boards, but also seven turnovers.

Down 29-25, Ohio took the lead with two Ogbonda free throws and then a Preston 3-pointer with less than five minutes in the first half, but Kent State answered quickly.

Simons gave the lead back to Kent State for the last time with a four-point play, and Roberts followed with a 3-pointer for a 7-0 run on just two possessions. The Golden Flashes eventually took a 42-38 lead into halftime.

Vander Plas made a free throw, Ogbonda a jumper and McDay a 3-pointer to give Ohio the lead early in the second half. Danny Pippen hit two from the foul line for Kent State to tie it and then two more to put the Golden Flashes up for good. A short time later, Williams and Simons hit back-to-back 3-pointers to push the Kent State lead to 54-46.

A McDay layup got the Bobcats to within 54-50 with 13:50 remaining, but the Golden Flashes had a knockout 10-0 run to increase their lead to 14 with 10 minutes left. The lead got as big as 78-58 with 3:19 remaining on a Roberts 3-pointer.

Simons went 7 of 11 from long range, while Roberts was 5 of 6, and Williams was 3 of 5. The team percentage would have been even better if not for Pippen going 0 for 5. The Golden Flashes were even sharp at the line, making 18 of 22 tries.

“They have seniors and juniors and had lost two in a row and then had eight days off,” Boals said. “It was almost a perfect storm. And then we didn't do the things that we needed to do to beat a good team on the road.”

Ohio had a good offensive day, but not good enough. It made 48.2% of its shots, including 8 of 23 3-pointers, but it was only 10 of 17 on free throws and had 18 turnovers.

The Bobcats had very little bench contribution – only five points total on 2 of 13 shooting.

Ohio returns home to face Central Michigan at 7 p.m. Tuesday at The Convo.

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