YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio-- Kent State saw an 18-point half time lead dwindle down to three in the second half but hung on for a 59-52 win at Youngstown State tonight at the Beeghly Center. The win was the fourth straight for the Golden Flashes which improved to 7-2 on the year. The Penguins went to 3-4 with the loss.
Junior Al Fisher (Pennsauken, NJ / Redlands CC) scored 11 of Kent State's final 13 points and finished with a game high 16 points. Senior Haminn Quaintance (Sarasota, Fla. / Jacksonville University) scored in double figures for a fourth straight game with 12 points and set a career high with five blocks while adding five steals to lead the Golden Flashes to victory.
"He (Quaintance) has done it all year, he's not gambling out there," said head coach Jim Christian. "He's been solid with what we are doing and he's using his athleticism to make plays."
Kent State seemed well on the way to another victory after building up a 36-18 lead in the first half while shooting 61.5 percent (16-26) from the field. In the second half after senior Mike Scott (Indianapolis, Ind. /Northwest) scored on the Golden Flashes first possession at the 19:24 mark, KSU missed its next 13 shots and committed seven turnovers in an 11 and a half minute stretch.
With the offense misfiring, the defense stood its ground, limiting YSU to only four field goals during the run, and when sophomore Chris Singletary (Chicago, Ill / Florida Prep) finally ended the drought with a lay-in at 7:51, Kent State still held a 10-point (42-32) advantage.
The Golden Flashes second half shooting woes continued as the Penguins remained in the game, cutting the lead down to eight 48-40 when Fisher nailed a huge three pointer (the only one of the second half for KSU) with just under four minutes left.
YSU did not go away however as they would hit eight straight free throws to help trim the deficit to three at 55-52 with only 37 second to play. The Golden Flashes would hang on behind Fisher as his off-balanced jumper pushed the lead back to five and the door was finally shut when Scott blocked a three point attempt from the left corner by Mel Johnson with 11 second left.
"Youngstown State is a good team, and anytime you go on the road like we did tonight teams are going to make a run and you can't have a lull in the game like we had," added Christian. "I thought we let them stay in the game in the second half with extra possessions on the offensive boards."
Kent State finished the game shooting 46 percent while the Penguins were held to 32.1 percent shooting, including 27.6 percent (8-29) in the first half.
John Barber and Bryon Davis led YSU with 14 points each. Kent State returns home to the M.A.C. Center on Saturday when they host George Mason at 2:00 pm.
GAME NOTES:The Golden Flashes have now won 19 straight when holding opponents to less than 60 pointsKSU has held four opponents to less than 30 percent shooting and three to less than 20 points in the first half this seasonThe win ended a four game losing streak for KSU against Horizon League opponents