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Kent State beats Ohio in MAC semis, will face Akron in final

CLEVELAND (AP) — Malique Jacobs scored 19 points and Sincere Carry added 16, sending Kent State to its 14th straight win and into the championship of the Mid-American Conference tournament with a 67-61 victory over Ohio in the semifinals on Friday night.

The Golden Flashes (23-9) will face bitter rival Akron in Saturday's title game with the winner getting the league's automatic NCAA bid. The fourth-seeded Zips advanced by upsetting top-seeded Toledo 70-62 in the other semifinal.

Kent State won both regular-season games against Akron. This will be the fourth meeting between the schools in the MAC championship.

Ben Vander Plas scored 20 and Mark Sears 15 for the Bobcats (24-9) who won the MAC title last year.

Trailing by 11 and running out of time, No. 3 seed Ohio put together a 14-5 run capped by Miles Brown's 3-pointer to cut Kent State's lead to 58-56 with 2:56 remaining.

That's when Jacobs camp up big, scoring on a layup and then a jumper — after a turnover by Vander Plas — to put the Golden Flashes ahead by four.

Sears responded with a 3-pointer for the Bobcats, but Carry, the conference's player of the year, then worked down the 30-second shot clock before calmly hitting a fadeaway to make it 65-59.

Vander Plas made a pair of free throws before Carry was fouled and made two foul shots to ice it for the Golden Flashes, who last made the NCAA Tournament in 2017.

Jacobs added 10 rebounds and five assists for Kent State, which last lost on Jan. 21 at Buffalo.


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Updated March 12, 2022

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