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November 19, 2010
KENT--Kent State, playing in its fifth game in eight days, defeated Furman, 78-74, in overtime Friday night thanks to a late offensive surge from forward Justin Greene and a gritty performance by guard Michael Porrini.
Considering Kent State (4-1) allowed 19 offensive rebounds, shot 1-of-10 from 3-point range, scored just four points in the final 4:49 of regulation and played on very weary legs, "survived" might be a better word than "defeated."
Tied 42-42 with 13:36 on the clock, Kent State began using a 2-2-1 full court press that forced five consecutive turnovers, disallowed Furman to cross the midcourt line for nearly two minutes and opened up a 13 point lead.
While the press gave Kent State the lead, head coach Geno Ford said it was also what brought Furman back into the game.
"The press got us the lead and we were able to force some turnovers which got us a cushion," Ford said. "We had long possessions [at the end of the game] and I think we ran out of gas. Our press all of a sudden got sloppy--there was nothing left in the tank."
Furman (2-1) roared back from an eight-point deficit with 2:15 left in the second half, capped by a 3-point shot from senior Noah States with 9.9 seconds remaining to tie the game, 65-65.
In overtime, Greene, who Ford said was banged up after the game, poured in six points, two assists, two rebounds and a block after being limited to just two points in the second half thanks to constant double-teams by the Paladins.
Greene used the double-team to his advantage in the final five minutes, finding center Justin Manns and Porrini on inside-cuts to grab a quick four-point lead.
"What won us the game was [Greene's] handling the double-team," Ford said. "We came right out and got it on top of the rim for two freebies. Last year's team was a great interior passing team because they had feel for each other. We don't have much feel yet."
Kent State's Mid-American Conference Player Of The Year candidate totaled 23 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block in 41 minutes to notch his tenth career 20-point game and third this season.
Porrini turned in an odd night on the stat sheet with 16 points, a team-high six rebounds and no assists in 32 minutes, but missed two free throws with 1:29 left in the second half that would have sealed the game.
Porrini's sixth rebound came while up two points with 4.3 seconds left after he dove on the ground along the baseline, beating two Furman players to the ball and calling timeout.
"I had to make up for my missed free throws prior to that," Porrini said. "I make two free throws in regulation and we go home early. Coach [Ford] is always talking about tough players and diving on the floor, and I felt that was the best time to do it."
Rodriquez Sherman returned from his concussion and scored 10 points, dished out four assists and brought down four rebounds. Sherman missed a 15-foot jumper at the end of regulation but drove the lane and hit a lay-up with 40 seconds left in overtime to extend the lead to 75-71.
Guard Carlton Guyton chipped in with 13 points and three steals.
Technical Fouls: E. Gaines
Officials: Terry Wymer, Donnie Eppley, Greg Langsdorf
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