Kennesaw State Men’s Basketball is Moving On in the ASUN Championship

Kendrick Ray Led the Owls With 24 Points, Six rebounds and Five Assists
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. 
 – First-Team All-ASUN performer Kendrick Ray scored 24 points and Nick Masterson added 18 as Kennesaw State held off USC Upstate, 80-78, Monday night in the quarterfinal round of the ASUN Men’s Basketball Championship in Spartanburg, S.C.

The victory allows the fifth-seeded Owls (14-17) to advance to the semifinals of the ASUN Championship and a date with top-seeded Florida Gulf Coast Thursday night in Ft. Myers on ESPN3.
 
With 2:36 remaining, Upstate took a one-point lead and Ray stepped up. He dished a pass to Aubrey Williams for a layup, then took a charge on the defensive end before hitting a jumper to give the Owls a three-point lead with 1:37 remaining.
 
Upstate wasn’t done yet though as they responded the entire second half to any run by KSU. With the Owls leading by two, Upstate had a look to tie, but good defense by Williams on Upstate’s star Michael Buchanan secured the two-point victory for the Owls.
 
The game started with neither team giving an inch as both teams traded baskets back and forth for the first 14 minutes. Upstate finally got an edge going up by six with 1:31 remaining, but a Masterson three got the Owls back in it as they only trailed 35-33 into the break.
 
At the beginning of the second half, Masterson kept the hot hand for the Owls sparking an 8-0 run scoring six of those points to give the Owls a 41-37 lead.
 
Once KSU got the lead, every time they tried to get some separation, Upstate made a run to come back and tie the score.
 
The Owls didn’t relinquish the lead until the 2:36 mark in the game when Upstate took the lead back before Ray took over late.
 
He scored 18 of his 24 points in the final 20 minutes to will the Owls to victory.
 
Sophomore point guard Kyle Clarke came up big as well for the Owls as well finishing with nine points, five assists and four steals. His final steal came at a crucial point with 29 seconds remaining and Kennesaw State holding a one-point lead.
 
The victory is the second ever for Kennesaw State in the ASUN Championship and they will now play FGCU on Thursday, March 2 in the ASUN Semi-Finals in Fort Myers, Fla.

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