Chicago, Ill. -- Junior Kendrick Perry's running jumper with 4.5 seconds left lifted the Youngstown State men's basketball team to a dramatic 68-66 come-from-behind win over Horizon League foe Loyola on Saturday at Gentile Arena.
The Penguins, who trailed by as many as 14 points in the second half and by 12 with nine minutes left, improve to 9-6 overall and 1-1 in the Horizon League. Loyola, who lost for the first time at home this season, falls to 10-4 overall and 1-1 in the league.
Perry, who scored 18 points including 14 in the second half, drove the left side of the lane and laid a shot off the glass for the go-ahead bucket with five seconds left.
After the Ramblers cross half court and called time out with 1.5 seconds left, senior Damian Eargle was inexplicably called for his fifth foul on the inbounds play.
Loyola senior Ben Averkamp, who had 18 points, but just five in the second half, missed the front end of the one-and-one and the Ramblers retained possession with just 0.2 seconds left when the ball glanced off the Penguins. The Ramblers' final tip-in attempt, which would have counted, was no good.
With more than 14 minutes left in the second half, the Penguins, who shot 58.3 percent in the second half, trailed the Ramblers 50-36 after a Joe Crisman 3-pointer.
Twice the Penguins trimmed the deficit down to seven, but the Ramblers were able to recapture a 12-point advantage, 59-47, at the 9:10 mark after a 3-pointer and jumper by Cully Payne.
Over the next four minutes, the Penguins used an 11-2 run sparked by Kamren Belin's 3-pointer to cut the deficit down to three, 61-58, with 4:54 left. Perry started the run with a jumper and two free throws followed by Belin's 3-pointer and two layups by Eargle.
Loyola extended its advantage back to seven after a jumper by Payne and two free throws from Averkamp, 65-58, with 3:36 left.
The Penguins scored the next eight points capped by DJ Cole's jumper with 58 seconds left that gave YSU a 66-65 lead, its first since the 2:42 mark of the first half. Perry again started the 8-0 run with two free throws and Belin's jumper cut the Loyola lead to just three, 65-62, at the 2:40 mark.
A Perry jumper with 2:02 left got the Penguins within one, 65-64, and a Loyola turnover set up Cole's shot.
For the game, YSU shot 48.1 percent (25-of-52) while the Ramblers shot 30.4 percent (23-of-57). Eargle finished with a game-high 20 points and was credited with six blocked shots. Belin added 13 for the Guins. Both teams combined for 15 turnovers (eight for YSU and seven for Loyola).
In the first half, the Penguins were able to jump out to a seven-point lead, 16-9, eight minutes into the game before the Ramblers knotted the scored at 16-16 with 10:27 left before haltime.
The Ramblers, though, used a 19-5 run to close out the half with a five-point lead, 35-30.
The Penguins return home to host Detroit in their first Horizon League home game on Thursday, Jan. 10. Tipoff is set for 7:05 p.m. at the Beeghly Center.