Kent, Ohio – Forward Justin Greene scored a game-high 23 points and Kent State shot 48.2% from the field to hold off Furman in overtime, 78-74, in men's basketball action on Friday evening at the M.A.C. Center in Kent, Ohio.
Amu Saaka scored 21 points, 19 in the second half, and Noah States added 17 as Furman erased a 10-point lead in the final 3:15 to force overtime. Trailing 63-53 after Michael Porrini's tip-in with 3:33 left, Saaka scored seven points to key a 12-2 Paladin run that States capped with a game-tying three-pointer with 12 seconds left in regulation to knot the game at 65-65 and force overtime.
The Golden Flashes (4-1) raced out to a 73-68 lead with 2:51 remaining in the extra period, but States cut the lead to a pair with a three-pointer and Saaka followed a Sherman Rodriguez layup with another trey to trim the margin to 75-74 with only 29 seconds left.
Porrini converted on one of his two trips to the foul line at the other end. Darryl Evans attempted a driving layup for the Paladins that missed, but Justin Greene was whistled for travelling when he slipped to the ground after grabbing the rebound giving Furman one more chance with 15 second to play. States, however, could not convert on a look from three-point range and Greene buried two free throws for the Golden Flashes with four second left for the final four-point margin.
Greene led five Golden Flashes in double figures making 9-of-12 shots from the field and converting on 5-of-6 trips to the foul line to go with five rebounds. Porrini netted 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting and guard Clayton Guyton added 13 points. Justin Manns and Rodriguez contributed 11 and 10, respectively.
Kent State made 27-of-56 field goal attempts, including 5-of-6 in the overtime period while draining 23-of-34 free throw attempts. The Golden Flashes outscored Furman 44-34 in the paint and tallied 23 points off of 19 Paladin turnovers.
Saaka notched his second double-double in three games with 21 points and 11 boards while States made 7-of-10 shots, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc, to tally his 17 points. Senior Jordan Miller, who stands just 18 points shy of becoming the 38th Paladin in history to score 1,000 career points, added 11 points.
Furman was 30-of-70 (42.9%) from the field and 8-of-12 at the charity stripe. The Paladins, who converted on just 6-of-22 treys, became the first team this season to top Kent State on the boards with a 41-34 rebounding edge.
The win extended Kent State's home winning streak to 11 games while Furman fell for the eighth time in its last nine games away from Timmons Arena.
The Paladins (2-1) will continue their road trip on Tuesday with a 7:30 p.m. contest against South Carolina State in Orangeburg, S.C., before travelling to Penn State on November 28.