Matthew Walker defied Sussex for more than four hours on the final day at Hove to restrict their lead to five points at the top of Liverpool Victoria Division One.
Victory would have taken Sussex 15 points ahead of second-placed Lancashire - but after conservatively setting Kent a notional 457 to win in a minimum 88 overs, they proved unable to bowl their opponents out.
Walker (70 not out), adding to his first-innings 87, had most to do with that as he stalled young off-spinner Ollie Rayner - on a pitch belatedly giving the slow bowlers at least a little help - as well as the reverse-swing of Yasir Arafat.
The little left-hander faced 220 balls in a total of 280 for seven - which included some unexpected late hitting from Tyron Henderson - as the draw was closed out on another glorious day on the south coast.
Only makeshift opener Niall O'Brien was out of the equation by lunch - but Kent were wobbling just a little on 178 for four at tea.
In fact, had Michael Yardy accepted a regulation chance at first slip off Jason Lewry to see off Dwayne Bravo from the last ball of the afternoon session it might well have been game on.
Instead, Walker - himself a survivor on 23 of a half-chance to short-leg off Yardy's left-arm spin and another on 58 to Rayner at second slip off James Kirtley - shared a stand of 71 in 27 overs with the West Indies all-rounder.
Sussex captain Chris Adams reflected afterwards with disappointment at failing to force the win but not regret at delaying his declaration. He reasoned: "They are a dangerous batting side, with a clutch of players at the top of the order who can hurt you.
"It was a very flat pitch, and I decided to take eight overs or so out of the game in the morning so that we knew we could attack and give ourselves the best chance.
"If you can't bowl a side out in 90 overs then most times you aren't going to be able to win that match."
That said, Adams is in no doubt that - despite the encouragement of three wickets, including a championship first, for Rayner - a fit Mushtaq Ahmed would have made the difference. "If we'd had Mushtaq we would have won," he said.
The Pakistani leg-spinner was absent with a neck injury, and instead it fell to his compatriot Arafat to pose perhaps the greatest threat to Kent.
Home hopes were raised after he saw off Bravo and Tredwell - but Adams was convinced of the draw from the moment Fulton survived thanks to the no-ball call.
"When Fulton's off-stump got knocked over off a no-ball I was pretty sure it wasn't going to be our day," he said.
At the other end of the table, Yorkshire secured their first victory of the season at the Riverside.
Durham captain Dale Benken-stein (96) had given the home side hope of saving the game but, when he fell to Deon Kruis, the home side collapsed from 205 for five to 248 all out, handing the visitors a 145-run victory.
Jason Gillespie did most of the damage for Yorkshire with five for 37.
Third-place Hampshire will hope to finish off Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, where the home side need another 360 runs to win.
The visitors had hoped to build an even bigger lead having started their second innings 210 ahead but they were harried out of their stride by four wickets from Charlie Shreck and two from Ryan Sidebottom.
With Hampshire having declared on 173 for eight, Darren Bicknell and Jason Gallian were the men in the middle as Notts reached 24 without loss at the close.
In the second division, Essex secured a seven-wicket win over promotion rivals Gloucestershire at Bristol with Andy Bichel, Ravi Bopara and Grant Flower claiming three wickets each.
Former Australia star Bichel took three for 50, medium-pacer Bopara took three for 16 and left-arm spin-ner Flower returned three for 28 as Gloucestershire were dismissed for 251 shortly after tea.
It was a season's-best return for Bopara, who accounted for three of the top six, while Flower's wickets were his first ones in the Championship this summer.
Division leaders Surrey have a win over Northamptonshire in their sights at Wantage Road with the home side 384 runs short and with just five wickets in hand.
Mark Ramprakash (155) and Jon Batty (133) both hit centuries to enable the visitors to declare on 424 for six, leaving Northants a target of 453. Two wickets each for Azhar Mahmood and Mohammad Akram left Northants in trouble.
The home side had conceded a 28-run first-innings lead and had seen the visitors go from 75 for one overnight to 353 for five as Ramprakash and Batty took control.
Steve Stubbings hit his tenth first-class century to put Derbyshire in a strong position on the third day of their match against Somerset at Taunton.
The visitors closed on 376 for six in their second innings, a lead of 432, after Stubbings had scored 124 off 244 balls, with 19 fours.
He received good support from Chris Taylor (74) and Marcus North (75) as Somerset's bowlers were made to toil in the heat.
Brendon McCullum struck a record-breaking 160 as Glamorgan fought back on the third day against Leicestershire at Cardiff.
Responding to Leicestershire's 560 all out, Glamorgan passed the follow-on target of 411 before being dismissed for 449. By the close Leicestershire had moved on to 17 without loss in their second innings for an overall lead of 128.