Kent State grabbed an early advantage on Saturday, leading to a Mid-American Conference victory against Ohio.
The Golden Flashes never trailed after the opening minutes, leading to an 89-79 win over the Bobcats inside the Convocation Center.
Kent State shot 57.4 percent from the field (35 of 61), won the rebounding battle 45-21 and outscored Ohio in the paint, 50-22.
It added up to Ohio’s record falling to 7-6 overall, and 3-4 in the MAC.
Kent State improved to 6-3 overall, including 3-2 in the MAC.
Ohio’s only lead came at 3-0 after Ben Roderick’s 3-pointer on the opening possession. Kent State would eventually turn that into an 18-9 lead, and the Bobcats never forced another tie.
The Flashes would lead 37-24 after Malique Jacob’s jump shot with 39 seconds left in the first half, ultimately leading 40-26 at halftime after Tervell Beck’s late 3-pointer.
Ohio never got closer than eight points during the second half. Jason Preston’s jumper allowed the Bobcats to trail 77-69 with still 4:06 left, but Kent State’s lead grew to 87-72 in the closing minute of the game.
Ohio outscored Kent State 53-49 in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to mount the comeback.
Ben Vander Plas and Preston led Ohio’s offensive attack. Vander Plas totaled 24 points, making five 3-pointers to go with five assists.
Preston followed with 23 points, also making four 3-pointers. He had 10 assists for a double-double.
Roderick and Dwight Wilson each had nine points, with Wilson leading the team with six rebounds. Mark Sears added seven points, Lunden McDay four points and Miles Brown three points.
Danny Pippen led Kent State with a 22-point effort. He added eight rebounds, shooting 9 of 18 from the floor. Beck scored 18 points, making 8 of 10 field goal attempts. Michael Nuga (16 points and 10 rebounds) had a double-double, with Jacob also hitting double figures with 14 points.
Ohio looks to bounce back on the road, as it travels to Northern Illinois on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. tip off.