Late charge helps Lions upend unbeaten Kent State
KENT, Ohio – Senior guard Eddy Polanco scored Southeastern Louisiana’s final 10 points, including the eventual game-winning 3-pointer with 1:05 left, as the Lions overcame a 12-point first-half deficit at previously undefeated Kent State Tuesday night in the Savannah Invitational in the Memorial Athletic & Convocation Center.
The Lions (2-3) snapped a three-game losing streak while picking up their first road win of the season.
Polanco hit four 3-pointers in finishing with 22 points and seven rebounds. Junior guard Marlain Veal also had 22 points as Southeastern shot 47.1 percent from the field, including 55.6 percent in the second half. The Lions also out-rebounded the nation’s No. 11 rebounding team 37-32, led by junior guard Keith Charleston who tied a career-high with 10 boards.
Southeastern held Kent State (3-1) to 27.7 points below its season average while allowing a season-low 37.1 percent from the field. Jaylin Walker led the Golden Flashes with 26 points while Adonis De La Rosa had 10 points and six rebounds. Danny Pippen also had six rebounds.
In a game with six lead changes and nine ties, Polanco gave Southeastern the lead for good at 67-64 with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1:05 left.
After a Charleston rebounded a miss by Jalen Avery, Polanco hit two free throws to make it 69-64 with 45 seconds remaining. Walker hit a jumper to trim the deficit to 69-66 with 28 seconds left. Senior guard Jabbar Singleton missed two free throws on the ensuing possession but Charleston rebounded a missed 3 by Kevin Zabo with six seconds left. Polanco then made the second of two free throws with 4 seconds remaining.
Kent State hit six 3-pointers in taking a 34-26 halftime lead. Charleston opened the second half with a 3 before Veal converted a three-point play to make it 39-37 with 14:45 left. Singleton then chased down a steal at midcourt and drove in to tie it at 39 at the 14:19 mark. Polanco followed with a 3 from the left wing to give the Lions their first lead at 42-39 with 13:41 remaining.
Walker answered with a 3 from the right wing to tie it again at 42 with 13:30 left. Kent State took a 49-44 lead on a pair of De La Rosa free throws at the 10:03 mark. Southeastern again rallied, taking a 52-51 lead as Currington converted a three-point play following a putback. After a Veal layup, Zabo tied it again at 54 with a 3 with 4:57 remaining.
The Golden Flashes went ahead for the final time at 62-60 on two Walker free throws with 1:52 left. Polanco countered with a 3 before Avery tied it for the final time with two free throws with 1:14 remaining.
Both offenses struggled early as the game was tied at 2 at the 15:29 mark. A Mitch Peterson 3 opened a 10-2 run for Kent State. After a Polanco layup broke a 4:59 scoreless spell for Southeastern, Zabo and Walker hit 3s to give the Golden Flashes an 18-8 lead with 8:49 left in the half.
Polanco started a 7-0 run for the Lions with a 3 and a layup. Junior forward Moses Greenwood added two free throws to pull Southeastern to within 18-15 with 7:36 remaining. After Kent State went back up by six on a 3 by Desmond Ridenour, Veal drove into make it 24-20 at the 4:26 mark. The Golden Flashes countered with a 10-2 run to take their biggest lead of the half at 34-22 on a De La Rosa jumper with 1:40 left.
Senior guard Joshua Filmore saw his first action since March 10, 2016 against Houston Baptist in the Southland Conference Tournament. Filmore missed the 2016-17 season with an injury.
Southeastern’s won on the road for the first time since a 63-58 win at eventual Southland Conference champion New Orleans in the 2016-17 season finale.
Charleston also had 10 rebounds at ULM earlier this season and against Gardner-Webb and Mississippi College in 2015.
Kent State went into the game averaging 93.7 points and 46.0 rebounds a game. The Golden Flashes were also out-scoring opponents by an average of 30.3 points.
Southeastern head coach Jay Ladner:
On getting the win on the road…
“I couldn’t be more proud. Tonight I thought they did a good job of keeping things in perspective. I thought our transition defense was better, our half-court defense was better. I didn’t like our half-court offense to begin with but they took coaching and kind of settled down and got more efficient in the second half.”
On the comeback from 12 down…
“I thought we did a much better job of playing together. We looked more settled out there. I thought Josh Filmore had a lot to do with that, playing his first game of the season. He’s a fifth-year senior who settles us down. I thought we were very unselfish and we executed better on offense down the stretch. I thought we played smart the last three or four minutes. We got the basketball to the right people. Eddy had the hot hand, Marlain had the hot hand and they had the basketball in their hands a lot.”
Southeastern will take a break for Thanksgiving before resuming play in the Invitational Friday against Samford at 1 p.m. in Birmingham, Alabama. The Lions wrap up the tournament against Mississippi Valley State Saturday at 1 p.m. in Birmingham.
Southeastern La. 70, Kent State 66
SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA (2-3)
Veal, Marlain 7-11 7-9 22; Polanco, Eddy 7-9 4-5 22; Currington, James 4-6 1-1 9; Charleston, Keith 2-7 1-2 6; Greenwood, Moses 1-7 3-4 5; Capps, Jordan 2-3 0-0 4; Singleton, Jabbar 1-4 0-2 2; Gonzalez, Brandon 0-0 0-1 0; Filmore, Joshua 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 24-51 16-24 70.
KENT STATE (3-1)
WALKER, Jaylin 10-20 2-2 26; DE LA ROSA, Adonis 2-6 6-6 10; ZABO, Kevin 3-9 0-1 8; DULING, BJ 3-6 1-3 7; PETERSON, Mitch 2-4 1-2 6; RIDENOUR, Desmond 2-5 0-0 5; AVERY, Jalen 0-6 2-2 2; PIPPEN, Danny 1-4 0-0 2; JOHNSON, Taishaun 0-1 0-0 0; FREDERICK, Akiean 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-62 12-16 66.
Southeastern Louisiana…….. 26 44 – 70
Kent State……………….. 34 32 – 66
3-point goals–Southeastern Louisiana 6-19 (Polanco, Eddy 4-6; Charleston, Keith 1-2; Veal, Marlain 1-4; Capps, Jordan 0-1; Singleton, Jabbar 0-2; Filmore, Joshua 0-4), Kent State 8-31 (WALKER, Jaylin 4-12; ZABO, Kevin 2-7; RIDENOUR, Desmond 1-3; PETERSON, Mitch 1-3; PIPPEN, Danny 0-1; JOHNSON, Taishaun 0-1; AVERY, Jalen 0-4). Fouled out—Southeastern Louisiana-Greenwood, Moses, Kent State-PETERSON, Mitch. Rebounds–Southeastern Louisiana 37 (Charleston, Keith 10), Kent State 32 (PIPPEN, Danny 6; DE LA ROSA, Adonis 6). Assists–Southeastern Louisiana 10 (Singleton, Jabbar 3; Veal, Marlain 3), Kent State 11 (AVERY, Jalen 5). Total fouls–Southeastern Louisiana 16, Kent State 22. Technical fouls–Southeastern Louisiana-None, Kent State-None. A-1827
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