(KENT, OH) - Kent State (19-6; 9-3 MAC) won its seventh straight and climbed into a second place tie in the Mid-American Conference East Division after stopping Buffalo (16-7; 9-3 MAC) by a final of 76-71 Tuesday night in the M.A.C. Center.
For the fourth consecutive game, the Golden Flashes were led in scoring by senior forward Justin Greene (Brooklyn, N.Y.) who totaled 18 points and six rebounds, but it was senior guard Michael Porrini (Massillon, Ohio) who was a real difference maker in the game. Porrini racked up 14 of his 16 points in the second half while hitting two key three pointers in the final eight minutes. The 2011 MAC Defensive Player of the Year, he also added a game high nine assists and six rebounds.
After starting the half trailing eight points, Kent State erupted to begin the second stanza. The Golden Flashes went on a 11-0 run in just over a two minute span and shot 9-12 from the field in the first seven minutes of the period which turned the eight point deficit into a nine point, 57-48 lead. Sophomore guard Eric Gaines (Chicago, Ill.), played a huge roll in the comeback including one sequence when he stole an inbounds pass then hit a three-pointer while being fouled for a four-point play.
Buffalo didn't go away however and quickly got back into the game with a 13-0 run that gave the Bulls a 61-57 lead with 7:38 remaining.
It was then time for Porrini to take over. The 6'1" senior sparked an 11-4 stretch over the next two minutes by hitting three-pointers on the next two possessions followed by an assist Greene to push the Kent State lead up to five with 5:23 to go.
Buffalo would bring the margin back to 70-68 with under 90 seconds to play, before senior guard Carlton Guyton (Chicago, Ill.), hit a three-pointer from the top of the key for three of his 11 points to increase the Golden Flashes' lead back to five points. Greene then iced the game at the line with 15.4 seconds to play as the defending MAC Player of the Year sank both shots.
Junior guard Randal Holt (Cleveland, Ohio) added 15 points and hit four of Kent State's 11 three-pointers in the game. The Golden Flashes shot over 60 percent from beyond the arc (11-18) for the first time since Feb. 2, 2008.
Buffalo senior guard Zach Filzen had a game high 20 points while sparking a 10-2 run that led to a 39-31 lead at halftime for the Bulls.
Kent State completes a three-game homestand on Saturday by welcoming Charleston to the M.A.C. Center as part of the 10th annual Sears BracketBuster event. The Golden Flashes will be honoring the 2002 Elite 8 team with an appearance from Antonio Gates at halftime of the 6:00 pm contest.. email@example.com or follow us on Twitter @SportsSentinel POSTED 02/14/2012 23:49