Antonio Williams scored 21 points with four assists and four steals for the Golden Flashes (15-6, 5-3 Mid-American Conference), who ended the first half with a 16-0 run but trailed 35-32 at halftime.
Philip Whittington's go-ahead layup put Kent State up 50-46 with 12:16 left to play and sparked a 14-3 run capped by Antonio Williams' layup for a 58-49 lead and the Golden Flashes held on.
Danny Pippen grabbed 10 rebounds and scored 16 points, C.J. Williamson had nine points and Whittington had six.
Luke Knapke scored 17 points with 10 rebounds and three assists and Willie Jackson scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Rockets (11-10, 3-5). Marreon Jackson had 25 points and seven assists.
The Golden Flashes improve to 2-0 against the Rockets this season. Kent State defeated Toledo 84-77 on Jan. 7. Kent State takes on Akron at home on Friday. Toledo matches up against Eastern Michigan on the road on Saturday.
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