It was tied 41-all with 13 minutes remaining when Chris Ortiz scored a dunk, sparking a 14-2 run to give Kent State a double-digit lead it held until the three-minute mark.
Eric Washington scored nine points as part of a 15-4 spurt for the Red Hawks to pull to 66-64 with 1:21 to play. The Golden Flashes answered with 10-of-14 shooting from the line to seal it.
Ortiz finished with 12 points and eight rebounds for Kent State (11-5, 2-1 Mid-American), which has won four of its last five games.
Deon Edwin scored five straight points, a 3-pointer with a rebound and put-back, and Kent State had its largest lead, 60-47 with six minutes left.