Valparaiso, Ind. - Youngstown State junior forward Damian Eargle scored a career-high-tying 25 points, but a rough start was too much to overcome as the Penguins suffered a 93-76 setback to Detroit in the second round of the Horizon League Tournament at Valparaiso's ARC on Friday night.
After trailing by as many as 24 in the first half, the Penguins used a 19-5 run over the end of the first half and beginning of the second to surge back into the contest.
Just 2:10 into the second half, YSU fought back to within 53-43 after falling behind 48-24 with three minutes left in the first half. The Penguins (16-15) were within 10 on three occasions in the second half, the last of which was 60-50 with 14:38 remaining on a three-point play by Eargle.
However, Detroit (20-13) answered each Penguins comeback attempt. YSU's last best effort was trailing 74-62 with 9:12 left following a 3-pointer by DuShawn Brooks. But the Titans went on a 10-2 run to push the advantage up to 20 points for the first time in the second half.
In his final game, Brooks finished with 19 points while Kendrick Perry had 18, including 15 in the second half. Eargle was 10-of-14 from the field and 5-of-10 from the free-throw line for his 25 points. He also led the team with seven rebounds. YSU's other senior Ashen Ward finished with five points while Blake Allen was held to just three points.
The Titans had five players reach double figures with Ray McCallum scoring 22, including 15 second-half points, to lead the way. McCallum also had seven assists.
The 93 points were the most allowed in a game by the Guins since Milwaukee scored 94 against the Penguins last year in overtime.
For the game, YSU shot 54.7 percent making 29-of-53 attempts and went 6-of-20 from behind the 3-point arc. Detroit, which never trailed, was 33-of-55 (60 percent) from the field and made eight 3-pointers. The Titans also went 19-of-25 from the free-throw line.
The Penguins closed the first half on a 10-2 run to pull within 50-34 at the break.
Detroit came out firing on all cylinders making 11 of its first 14 shots - 78.6 percent - to go on top 29-10 at the 10:49 mark. In the final 10:49 of the half, the Titans were 6-of-14 to bring their percentage down to 60.7 percent. The 50 points allowed in the first half were the most surrendered by the Penguins this season.
YSU shot 52 percent making 13-of-25 attempts, but 12 turnovers proved costly.
Eargle and Brooks combined to score 24 of YSU's 34 first-half points. The Penguins' backcourt scored six points and went a combined 2-for-9. Josh Chojnacki provided a spark of the bench with four points.
With 3:00 left, the Guins trailed 48-24 following a 3-pointer by Jason Calliste, but were held to just two points the rest of the half durind YSU's mini run.
All five Detroit starters had at least seven points, with three scoring nine while LaMarcus Lowe led the way with 11. The Titans knocked down four of their first seven 3-point attempts and were 5-of-10 for the half.