CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Sam Hauser and No. 15 Virginia thought they had the game won in regulation, but after Kent State missed three 3-point attempts and kept rebounding the ball, Danny Pippen swished a 3 at the buzzer, forcing overtime.
In the extra period, it was Hauser who did the damage, scoring six of his 18 points as the Cavaliers avoided a second upset by an unranked, nonconference foe, beating the Golden Flashes 71-64 on Friday night.
“Obviously, when a guy hits a shot, it’s a little bit deflating,” Hauser said. “We just had to focus in overtime.”
Hauser scored on a drive and then made a 3-pointer to give Virginia a 67-62 lead and the Cavaliers kept the Golden Flashes from scoring until the final minute.
That effort was key after Kent State shot 55.6% in the second half.
“Throughout the game, our defense was leaky at times,” Hauser said.
Jay Huff also finished with 18 points and had 11 rebounds for Virginia (3-1), which lost 61-60 to San Francisco in its second game this season. Kihei Clark added 14 points and scored six of the Cavaliers’ last 10 points in regulation.
Mike Nuga scored 20 points, Pippen had 13 and Justyn Hamilton had 12 for Kent State (1-1). Pippen’s buzzer-beater came on his third try during the final sequence of regulation.
“They were quick and they were strong,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “They exploited some things at times.”
The Cavaliers opened their largest lead at 33-24 early in the second half, but the Golden Flashes started making shots and quickly closed the gap.
Hamilton scored twice in a 9-2 run that pulled Kent State within 35-33, and a 3-pointer by Nuga and basket by Pippen gave the Golden Flashes their first lead since the opening minute at 38-37. The lead went back and forth the rest of the way and neither team led by more than four until overtime.
Kent State: The Golden Flashes were animated in their bench area especially after making 10 of their first 15 shots in the second half and swapping the lead back and forth with the Cavaliers. They were playing their second game after their opener against Purdue Fort Wayne was postponed.
Virginia: The Cavaliers’ pack-line defense has been among the steadiest nationally for several years, but this year’s team has a way to go to get up to Bennett’s standards. It’s a complicated system for new players Trey Murphy III and Reece Beekman to master.
“We’ve got a lot of new pieces coming in,” Clark said. “Defense takes time.”
KIHEI IN RESERVE
Clark came off the bench for the second game in a row as Bennett against opted to start the freshman Beekman at point guard. After playing fewer than 15 minutes in a victory over St. Francis (Pa.) on Tuesday night, Clark was on the floor nearly 38 minutes.
He made his only try from 3-point range, was 9 of 12 from the free-throw line and had three assists and just one turnover.
“He brought what he needed to bring and he’s got to bring it nonstop,” Bennett said.
Virginia’s reserves outscored Kent State’s 26-4.
The Golden Flashes play at Detroit Mercy next Wednesday night.
Virginia is at home against No. 8 Michigan State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge next Wednesday night.