Kent State pulls away for 81-77 win past Temple
Kent State coach Rob Senderoff saw his team had an early case of big-game jitters.
The first road game and a national TV appearance in front of a loud, red crowd made for an uncomfortable start.
''I think we were really overanxious on both ends of the floor,'' he said.
Once the Golden Flashes settled down, they settled in for a nice comeback win.
Mark Henniger went inside for the basket with just over 4 minutes left to put Kent State up 70-69. Jackson, who had hit three 3s, drove to the hoop for the 72-69 lead.
Up 73-71, Kris Brewer drove the baseline and his little touch shot bounced twice off the rim before it fell through to give Kent State some breathing room. Brewer made a pair of free throws with 55 seconds left for a 77-71 lead that helped keep Kent State perfect.
''It was a big stage,'' Jackson said. ''After a couple of minutes, I think everybody was more comfortable.''
Darren Goodson scored 12 points and Kellon Thomas had 11 for the Golden Flashes (2-0).
Jackson and Goodson each made three 3-pointers as part of Kent State's 11 of 22 performance.
Anthony Lee had 16 points and 11 rebounds for his second straight double-double, and Will Cummings scored 17 points for the Owls (1-1).
''It's an early wake-up call,'' Lee said. ''You have to remember we have a lot of guys that didn't play last year. We're still trying to come together and see how we can close out games.''
The Owls led by four at halftime and just couldn't put away the Golden Flashes, out of the Mid-American Conference.
Quenton DeCosey, finding plenty of space to shoot with the departure of star guard Khalif Wyatt, hit a 3 for a seven-point lead and Dalton Pepper answered two Kent State 3s with one of his own to keep Temple lead at 63-59.
The Owls simply went cold from there, and scored only four more points over the next 8 minutes. The Owls only have 10 players on their roster and coach Fran Dunphy gave just seven serious playing time against Kent State. Four starters played 33-plus minutes and only two reserves played more than 10.
Without any real depth, the Owls have few choices when the starters need a breather.
''For stretches, it's hard,'' Dunphy said. ''There's not much we can do about it.''
The Owls blew a 15-point lead in the second half against Penn in the season opener before they recovered for a 78-73 win.
They could never stabilize themselves in this one.
''We just made some foolish plays in the second half,'' Dunphy said.
Kent State pounced and found its touch in a tough road game. Goodson's 3 pulled Kent State within three and Manley's layup with 5:40 left made it 69-68 and pushed the Golden Flashes to the brink of the upset.
Temple had a flicker of hope after it forced a turnover with 20 seconds left in a four-point game, but Cummings was whistled for an offensive foul as he plowed toward the basket.
''I like our team, I like who we are, but we need to tighten some things up,'' Dunphy said. ''There were a couple of panic shots.''
Temple's loss spoiled what had been a 9-0 start over the weekend for the American Athletic Conference.
DeCosey scored 16 points and Pepper had 15.
The Golden Flashes trailed by 10 in the first half before Jackson's 3 capped a comeback that put them up 30-28.
The Owls regained control and took a 42-39 lead into halftime. Jackson hit all three 3-point attempts and Kent State made 7 of 13 in the first half to stay within four. The Owls used 11 of 16 free throw shooting to make up for missing five of six 3s to take the lead.