Penguins drop double-overtime heartbreaker on Senior Night

Four YSU seniors celebrated Senior Night on Saturday as YSU fell to rival Cleveland State in the final regular season game of the year.

YOUNGSTOWN, OH (WKBN)-Five players reached double figures in scoring led by senior Jaylen Benton’s 21 but the Youngstown State men’s basketball team dropped a 99-94 decision in double overtime to Cleveland State on Saturday at the Beeghly Center.

The Penguins finish the regular season with an 8-23 overall record and a 6-12 mark in the Horizon Leauge. Cleveland State improves to 9-22 overall and 6-12 in the league.

Benton led the Penguins, who made 12 3-pointers, connected on 8-of-16 shooting from the floor, including a career-best five. Senior Cameron Morse scored all 20 of his points after halftime and became the sixth player in school history to score 1,900 career points. Junior Devin Haygood just missed a double with 16 points and nine rebounds,  sophomore Braun Hartfield scored 12 points and freshman Garrett Covington added 10 points.

Leading Cleveland State was Bobby Word who scored a game-high 25 points and made seven 3-pointers.

The game featured 25 lead changes and 20 ties and neither team lead by more than five points.

Youngstown State led by five, 72-67, after Morse drained a 3-pointer with 1:27 left in regulation. Word answered with a 3-pointer to get the Vikings within two, 72-70. Morse hit another 3-pointer with 26 seconds left to give the Penguins a five-point cushion, 75-70. Word, though, answered again with another 3-pointer with 22 seconds left and Tyree Appleby made a layup with eight seconds left to tie the game and force overtime.

In the first overtime, Morse hit his third 3-pointer of the game with 52 seconds left to give the Penguins an 87-84 advantage. CSU’s Stefan Kenic forced the second overtime with a 3-pointer with seven seconds left. Morse’s last second game-winning attempt was shot.

The Vikings never trailed in the second overtime period and outscored the Penguins 8-3 after the scored was tied at 91-91 with 3:02 left.

In the first half, the Penguins shot 44.8 percent from the floor and made six 3-pointers to hold a 37-33 edge at the intermission. YSU also forced the Vikings into nine turnovers in the first half and turned those miscues into 11 points.

Benton led the Penguins in the first half with 11 points connecting on 4-of-6 from the floor and draining three 3-pointers.

The Penguins and Vikings battled through six lead changes and four ties before the Penguins scored the final six points of the half on 3-pointers by Benton and Braun Hartfifeld.

Neither team led by more than five points with the Penguins holding a 27-22 advantage with 6:52 left before intermission.

The Penguins will play in the Little Caesar’s Horizon League Championship, March 2-6, in Detroit, Mich.



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