LINCOLN, Neb. — Facing an unbeaten Big Ten team in its first road game of the season appeared to be a stern test for the Kent State men’s basketball team.
The Golden Flashes (4-2) passed with flying colors.
Senior guard Chris Evans scored 19 points and grabbed six rebounds, junior forward Darren Goodson added 16 points and four boards off the bench, and Kent State outscored Nebraska (4-1) 42-27 in the second half to claim an impressive 74-60 victory Saturday night at the Devaney Center.
The win is the first on the road against a Big Ten opponent for KSU since 1970.
“It’s a great win on road for us, and it was a team win,” said Flashes coach Rob Senderoff. “Our guys played with one purpose, which was to win. Regardless if we’re home or on the road, that’s the way we have to play to be successful.”
Evans made 8-of-9 shots from the floor, while Goodson — a junior college transfer who did not play in last Tuesday’s victory over Bethune-Cookman after starting the first four games of the season — made 8-of-10 field goals, helping the Flashes shoot 57 percent from the field as a team (28-of-49).
“Chris made a ton of winning plays for us and made some really tough baskets,” said Senderoff. “The biggest thing for us is making sure his main focus was on winning, which it was.
“Darren was due to play well. I’m happy for him and happy for us, because we need him. The good players are resilient. That’s probably the first time he (did not play) in his life, and he responded exactly how you hoped he would.”
Behind Goodson, KSU’s bench outscored Nebraska’s subs 19-4.
Senior guard Randal Holt added 15 points and four assists for Kent State.
Senior guard Dylan Talley scored a game-high 27 points for the Cornhuskers, while Brandon Ubel added 17 points. No other Nebraska player scored more than five points.
Kent State led for most of the first half until a jumper by Talley with five seconds left gave Nebraska a 33-32 halftime lead.
Flashes sophomore point guard Kellon Thomas opened the second half with a 3-pointer, then Holt put Kent State ahead for good with a layup for a 37-35.
“The way we started the second half was really important,” said Senderoff. “Losing the lead going into the half was a little discouraging, but the point we made to our guys at halftime was we’re playing OK because we’re scoring, but we’re not getting loose balls, and not being tougher (than Nebraska).
“On the first possession of the second half (junior forward Mark Henniger) took a charge, and IO really think that set the tone. From that point on we just outscrapped them. For us to win, especially against a Big Ten team, we’ve gotta outscrap them. That really made a big difference.”
The Flashes by just three near the eight-minute mark when a jumper by Henniger ignited a 12-2 run that put the game away. A jumper by Goodson gave Kent State a 66-53 advantage with 4:33, and the issue was never in doubt down the stretch.
“For us to win here, it is a great start for us, and is something we can look to when we get into conference play and when we play tough road games,” said Senderoff. “Great win for us and our program.”
KENT ST. 74, NEBRASKA 60
KENT ST. (4-2) — Ortiz 2-2 1-2 7, Evans 8-9 3-4 19, Henniger 3-4 1-2 7, Thomas 2-5 2-2 7, Holt 5-12 3-3 15, Pope 0-3 1-2 1, Brewer 0-3 0-0 0, Spicer 0-0 0-0 0, Morris Jr. 0-0 0-0 0, Tabb 0-1 2-2 2, Goodson 8-10 0-1 16. Totals 28-49 13-18 74.
NEBRASKA (4-1) — Ubel 6-8 5-10 17, Almeida 1-2 1-3 3, Parker 1-3 2-2 4, Gallegos 1-9 0-0 3, Talley 10-21 5-5 27, Rivers 1-6 4-6 6, Menke 0-0 0-0 0, Peltz 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 20-51 17-26 60.
Halftime—Nebraska 33-32. 3-Point Goals—Kent St. 5-8 (Ortiz 2-2, Holt 2-4, Thomas 1-1, Goodson 0-1), Nebraska 3-19 (Talley 2-6, Gallegos 1-8, Parker 0-1, Ubel 0-1, Rivers 0-3). Fouled Out—Henniger. Rebounds—Kent St. 27 (Evans 6), Nebraska 34 (Ubel 13). Assists—Kent St. 7 (Holt 4), Nebraska 6 (Talley 3). Total Fouls—Kent St. 21, Nebraska 18. A—9,049.