Men lose big lead, fall in OT

allen 3-24

Youngstown State University’s Blake Allen shoots an open 3-pointer during the second half of Saturday’s CIT second round matchup against Canisius at Beeghly Center. Photo by Dustin Livesay/The Jambar.

Saturday at Beeghly Center, the Penguins men’s basketball team was cruising to a victory against Canisius College in the second round of the Tournament.

They lead by 17 at the half and stretched their advantage to 22 points in the opening minutes of the second period. Then the Golden Griffins turned the game in their favor.

“They got a couple easy baskets and kind of quieted our crowd a little bit,” senior guard Blake Allen said. “They got their confidence and just dug and dug and dug and eventually got back into the game.”

Canisius erased Youngstown State University’s lead and defeated the Penguins, 84-82, in overtime.

“We didn’t take care of the ball in the second half – had 11 turnovers and gave up 15 points off the defensive glass,” head coach Jerry Slocum said. “That was the difference. I’m very proud of our guys for the way they played all year. But I’m very disappointed in our second half performance.”

With the game tied at 82 and Canisius holding possession as time wound down in overtime, guard Billy Baron pulled-up for a 3-point attempt. He was fouled on the shot by YSU guard DJ Cole with 2 seconds remaining.

Baron connected on 2 of 3 free throws. Kendrick Perry’s half court heave missed the mark. The foul call on Cole was one that Slocum found questionable.

“It’s hard to go out on that call,” he said. “That kind of call at the end of the game – very disappointed…[Cole] said that the kid put the ball right up in front of him, but it is what it is.”

With the loss, the Penguins season comes to an end at 18-16.

“This is the most enjoyable year that I’ve had since being in Youngstown,” Slocum said. “It’s been an all-in group since day one. It’s one that I’ve enjoyed coaching and being around every day.”

The loss marks the last game for seniors Allen and Damien Eargle. Eargle finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Allen finished with 27 points.

“I just told my teammates that I love ‘em to death and this has been an extremely fun and eventful three years and I thanked the coaches for the opportunity,” Allen said.

Perry added 20 points for YSU, while Kamren Belin scored 14 points as well.

Canisius (20-13) was led by Baron with 30 points, six rebounds and five assists.

“He’s a really good player,” Allen said. “Obviously we only scouted them for a couple days. But he’s having a heck of a year and he’s a really good player.”