Five seconds remained. Arguably two of the best point guards in the Horizon League squared off — Kendrick Perry versus Bryn Forbes.
Cleveland State University inbounded to Forbes. Perry never let up, forced a loose ball and a desperation off-balanced 3-point attempt. The ball barely made it halfway, sealing a 67-66 Youngstown State University victory.
Before the final standoff, YSU (11-8, 2-2 in the Horizon League) trailed, 66-64, with 38.3 seconds left in the game. The Penguins had to foul, and the Vikings (10-8, 2-2) were already in the bonus.
Viking Trey Lewis stepped out of bounds on the pass. Perry took the ball at the top of the key, drove in the paint and hit a windmill layup. He was also fouled and converted the old-fashioned 3-point play, giving YSU the one-point advantage.
Anton Grady (CSU) attempted a hook shot with less than 10 seconds remaining. He missed the shot; Penguin Bobby Hain collected the defensive rebound but was called for traveling. CSU was given one last opportunity when Perry denied Forbes.
Perry finished with a game-high 31 points — four shy of his career high — three steals, three rebounds and three assists. Hain and Ryan Weber each scored 10 points.
Forbes led CSU with 17 points and a game-high four steals. Lewis scored 15 while Marlin Mason had 10.
CSU began the second half on an 11-2 scoring and took a 48-45 lead with 14 minutes remaining. YSU, like the first half, answered with an 8-2 scoring run, capped by a DJ Cole free throw. YSU led, 53-50, at the 10:29 mark.
The Vikings quickly counteracted with another 11-2 scoring run, the theme of Monday night’s game. CSU led, 61-55, with 6:35 left in the game. Perry remained scoreless in the half up to this point.
When all seemed almost lost in the first half, Perry went into beast mode. CSU led, 28-19, at the 8:15 mark in the first, ending a 12-3 scoring run before the Penguins counteracted.
YSU then went on a 14-2 scoring run. In the midst of the run was a rare four-point play by Perry at the 6:16 mark. Perry scored nine straight points during the stretch, capping it off with a go-ahead 3-point field goal.
The Penguins led, 43-37, at halftime. Perry finished the half with 19 points and two steals. Shawn Amiker filled a nice void with seven first-half points off the bench while Kamren Belin struggled, scoring no points during his 23 minutes on the court. YSU tallied 14 points off nine turnovers while the Vikings scored two on six.
YSU’s next game is against the University of Detroit Mercy on Saturday at Beeghly Center. Monday night’s game marked the first of four straight home games for the Penguins.