Perry’s Heroics lead YSU to victory

Kendrick Perry scored 23 of his game-high 31 points in the second half, and the Youngstown State men’s basketball team grinded out a 59-56 win over UIC on Saturday evening at Beeghly Center. Perry also set the Horizon League all-time steals record with 238.

Perry was 3-for-4 from 3-point range and 10-for-11 from the free-throw line in the final 20 minutes as the Penguins rallied from an 11-point first-half deficit. Bobby Hain added 14 points and a career-high 17 rebounds for YSU, which snapped a four-game losing streak. The Penguins are now 14-13 overall and 5-7 in Horizon League play while the Flames drop to 5-21 and 0-12.

The Flames led by 11 after 13 minutes, and they held an eight-point advantage at halftime. The Penguins started the second half by outscoring UIC 12-4 over the first 4:15 to tie the score at 31. YSU also tied the score at 35 and 37 before UIC scored the next six points to go up 46-40. Perry hit a 3-pointer on YSU’s next possession, and he cut the deficit to one with 6:23 remaining on an alley-oop from D.J. Cole’s pass near half court.

The Penguins took their first lead of the game at the 4:02 mark when Perry’s third 3-pointer of the half made the score 50-48, but UIC’s Pat Birt answered with a triple on the next possession to put the Flames back on top by one. The Flames didn’t score again until Kelsey Barlow’s bucket with 20 seconds left, and they had one possession that lasted for more than a minute with three offensive rebounds.

D.J. Cole scored for YSU on its next trip to put the Penguins up 52-51, and they did not trail again. Perry made two free throws at the 2:44 mark to push the lead to three, and the senior made two more with 25 seconds left to make the advantage 56-51.

After Barlow’s jumper made the score 56-53, Shawn Amiker split a pair of free throws to put YSU up four. Barlow then hit a 3-pointer with just over a second left to make it a one-point game, and Perry’s two free throws with 0.7 seconds put the Penguins back up by three. Barlow didn’t get a tying attempt from 25 feet off before the buzzer sounded, and it ended up missing anyhow.

Perry finished the game going 8-for-19 from the field and 12-for-15 from the free-throw line. The record-breaking steal was his only one of the game, and it pushed his career total to 238. He scored at least 30 points for the sixth time this season and for the ninth time in his career.

Youngstown State’s starters combined to play 192 of a possible 200 minutes.

Barlow had 17 points, and Birt finished with 15 for the Flames. Jordan Harks added 15 rebounds.

UIC led by as many as 11 in the first half and held a 27-19 edge at the break. The Penguins started 1-for-13 from the field as the Flames scored nine of the first 11 points of the game, and YSU ended up shooting 21.4 percent in the half. YSU scored the next eight points and got within one on Perry’s lay-up, but UIC countered with the next seven points to go up 16-8 with 10:49 left in the period.

Another Perry bucket cut the deficit to 16-12, and UIC’s second 7-0 run of the half gave it its largest lead of the game at 23-12 with 7:21 remaining. Perry’s record-breaking steal came with just under five minutes remaining in the first half, and it got YSU back within seven. The lead bounced between eight and 10 the rest of the half.

Hain nearly had a double-double in the first half with eight points and nine rebounds.

Youngstown State will remain home to play Milwaukee on Thursday at 7:05 p.m.

Courtesy: YSU Sports Information

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