KENT, Ohio – Darren Goodson banked in a contested 3-pointer from 28 feet with 1.6 seconds on the clock to lift Kent State to a 60-57 win over the University of Akron on Saturday at the M.A.C. Center.
The victory against their arch-rivals ended the Golden Flashes four-game losing streak for a team that was in a similar position last season. In 2012-13, Kent State was 11-10 and 2-5 in league play before battling back to earn a first-round bye in the Mid-American Conference tournament and capture the 14th 20-win season in 15 years.
With the win this evening, Kent State improved to 12-9 overall and 3-5 in the MAC.
"I'm really happy for Darren because he had a tough time recently, Regardless of what happens this year, that will go down as one of the biggest shots in Kent State history. And I am anticipating this springboarding another run like last season's."
Goodson ended up as the undisputed hero on a night when he struggled for most of the game's first 30 minutes. After missing his first four shots from the floor, Goodson finally connected on a field goal on a jump hook with 10:49 to play.
Even after that basket, Goodson was forced to the bench two minutes later with his fourth foul.
That was when freshman Marquiez Lawrence turned prophet in an attempt to lift his teammate out of frustration.
"He said 'I promise you are going to hit the shot to win the game," said Goodson. "I swear, that's what he said."
Goodson returned to connect on his next four baskets, including the game-winner. Goodson believed it would be Kris Brewer who would take the game winning shot. When the Kent State point guard's path to the basket was cut off, he kicked the ball to Goodson above the key. The power forward elevated from beyond NBA range and kissed in the game-winner high off of the glass.
Goodson admitted he didn't expect to make the shot.
"My first thought was to get it up and give us a chance at a rebound, but it went in," he said.
Akron could not get off an answer in the final 1.6 seconds.
Goodson finished as the only Kent State player in double figures with 12 points in just 16 minutes, hitting five of his nine shots after the 0-for-4 start.
Derek Jackson added nine points, including three straight free throws to put Kent State ahead by five points with 3:59 remaining after getting fouled by Akron's Quincy Diggs on a three-pointer from the left wing.
Akron battled back to tie the game on a layup by Demetrius Treadwell with 34 seconds to play, setting up the game's crazy final seconds.
Treadwell led everyone with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Diggs added 15 points and Harney scored 11 for the Zips.
Akron led by as many as seven points in the first half before Mark Henniger sparked a comeback off the bench. Henniger scored all of his six points in the first half. He also finished with a team-high seven rebounds.
The Flashes out-scored the Zips 36-30 in the paint, 16-10 off of Akron's 18 turnovers, and 21-11 off of the bench as all 10 Kent State players who took the floor reached the scoring column of the box score.
"Don't be surprised if (Kent State) wins a lot of games," said Akron coach Keith Dambrot. "They have played the toughest schedule to date … They look like a good mid-major basketball team."
Akron fell to 14-7 overall and 6-2 in MAC play.
Kent State will now travel to Central Michigan for a 7 p.m. game on Wednesday, Feb. 5, followed by a 2 p.m. game at Eastern Michigan on Saturday, Feb. 8.