March 10, 2006
CLEVELAND (AP) - Jay Youngblood and Mike Scott scored 15 points each and Kent State earned its fifth trip to the Mid-American Conference tournament final in six years with a 72-59 win over defending champion Ohio on Friday night.
The Golden Flashes (24-8) did it with senior guard DeAndre Haynes, the MAC player of the year, in foul trouble nearly the entire game.
With Haynes sitting on the bench with a towel around his neck, Kevin Warzynski's 15-foot jumper capped a 13-0 run, giving Kent State a 60-40 lead with 8:59 left.
Senior Nate Gerwig, who started as a freshman for the Golden Flashes in 2002 when they reached the NCAA tournament quarterfinals, outmuscled Ohio underneath, scoring six points with 10 rebounds.
Haynes got into foul trouble with two early in the first half, then got his fourth with 14:57 left.
Freshman Jordan Mincy played like a veteran in Haynes' absence, scoring two points with four assists and just one turnover in 21 minutes.
The loss ended a run of six straight MAC tournament wins for Ohio (19-11). The Bobcats, who never found their rhythm all season, couldn't find the shooting touch that got them past Miami in the quarterfinal.
Mychal Green led Ohio with 21 points, Antonio Chatman scored 13 and Leon Williams, last year's tournament MVP, had 11 points and nine rebounds.
Top-seeded Kent State, seeking its first MAC tourney title since 2002, will play Saturday against the winner of Friday's semifinal between Akron and Toledo.
Gerwig, playing in his 10th MAC tournament game, was called for a technical foul for running to the other end of the court in disgust after he was called for a foul on Green.
Ohio, which beat Kent State in the quarterfinals last season, pulled to within 47-40 on three free throws and appeared to have the momentum. But Warzynski, the MAC's sixth man of the year, sparked the Kent State with six points during their 13-point run.
The Golden Flashes took the lead for good with a 9-0 run late in the first half, sparked by Gerwig, and led 33-26 at halftime.
Kent State swept the Bobcats in three games this season and is 3-1 against them in the MAC semifinals and 4-3 in the tournament overall.