KENT, Ohio - Mark Henniger scored 20 points to lead five Kent State players in double figures as the Golden Flashes held on with the help of Kellon Thomas' late free throws to defeat Niagara 102-97 on Saturday.
Trailing by 11 with 5:20 to go, the Purple Eagles (1-4) got to within 96-93 with 26 seconds left after Antoine Mason made a layup and free throw. But Thomas converted six free throws as Kent State (6-1) prevailed.
Both teams had two players foul out, including Henniger, and both converted 26 of 33 free throws, but Niagara made only 5 of 21 3-point attempts, though its strength on the offensive boards helped to offset Kent State's hot shooting. The Flashes made 34 of 56 shots for 60.7 percent from the field, including 8 of 17 3-pointers for 47.1 percent.
Mason, the nation's leading scorer coming in at 31.3 points per game, finished with 31.