Covington's Putback at the Buzzer Gives Penguins 75-73 Win over Oakland

Garrett Covington
Garrett Covington

Garrett Covington had a catch-and-shoot putback at the buzzer to send the Youngstown State men's basketball team to a 75-73 win over Oakland at Beeghly Center on Wednesday night.

Covington caught Braun Hartfield's miss and got his winning shot off with 0.1 seconds left to give the Penguins their second straight Horizon League victory. YSU scored the final nine points of the game after trailing 73-66 with 2:30 remaining, and seven of those points came from Covington.

Covington finished with 18 points, and Cameron Morse scored a game-high 23 points for Youngstown State.  Jalen Hayes led four Golden Grizzlies in double figures with 19 points.

Youngstown State (8-20 overall, 6-9 Horizon League) had 13 steals and forced Oakland into 18 turnovers, and the Penguins converted those turnovers into 25 points. YSU also had seven blocks, including a big one by Covington at the end of the shot clock on Oakland's final possession.

The block allowed the Penguins to take over on a shot clock violation with 6.4 seconds left, and Hartfield drove down to take the potential game-winner from the left elbow with two seconds left. Covington grabbed the miss with less than a half second remaining and released it with 0.1 on the clock. The game ended with YSU's first lead of the final nine minutes.

Oakland (16-11, 8-6 Horionz League) led for more than 30 minutes, and it had a pair of eight-point leads in the first half and two seven-point advantage in the final three minutes of the second.

Morse had nine points in a three-minute stretch in the first half that helped the Penguins erase a seven-point deficit and take a 30-28 lead.

The Golden Grizzlies' largest lead was 18-10 on a Kendrick Nunn basket with 9:52 left in the opening half. It gave Nunn 12 points in the half, but the Penguins were able to shut him out the rest of the half. Oakland led by eight again at 20-12, and a Stan Scott layup gave it a 22-15 lead before Morse led the charge.

Morse hit a jumper to get going, and he assisted on a Covington basket in transition that led to a three-point play. A Michael Akuchie 3-pointer on YSU's next possession gave the Penguins a 23-22 lead, which was their first of the game.

After Oakland went back up 28-23, Morse had seven points on two trips down the floor to give the Penguins a 30-28 lead. He was fouled on a 3-pointer and converted the free-throw for a four-point play, and he hit another 3 in transition at the 4:05 mark to put YSU up two. The Penguins led 38-36 at halftime.

The Golden Grizzlies scored the first six points of the second half to go up 43-39, and they didn't give up the lead until a Jeremiah Ferguson basket in transition gave the Penguins a 50-48 advantage with 12:46 left. Tyree Robinson followed with a thunderous putback dunk a minute later to give YSU its largest lead of the half at 52-48. A Robinson basket with 9:53 left gave the Penguins a 54-53 lead, which was their final advantage until the clock hit zeroes.

Oakland scored six straight points to go up 59-54 with 7:49 left, and the Golden Grizzlies later scored seven consecutive points to take a 71-64 advantage with 2:48 remaining. The lead was seven again at 73-66 with 2:30 left, and the Penguins closed out the game with four straight defensive stops.

Covington hit a jumper to start the run with 2:11 left, and he hit a 3 on a pass from Morse at the 1:36 mark to cut the deficit to 73-71. Morse then hit Hartfield for a layup in transition with 36.4 seconds left to tie the game, and Covington's block of a Nunn 3-pointer on Oakland's final possession set up the game-winner.

The Penguins close out their short homestand against Detroit Mercy on Friday at 7 p.m.