Youngstown State senior Brandi Brown scored a season-high 33 points as the Penguins came back to knock off Cleveland State 73-69 in a hard-fought contest on Thursday night at the Beeghly Center.
With the victory the Penguins improve to 18-6 overall and 8-3 in the Horizon League while the Vikings drop to 12-14 and 4-9.
YSU trailed by as many as nine in the first half and faced a six-point deficit just over three minutes into the second half. But it kept chipping away and after three ties in a span of 2:23 finally grabbed the lead for good at the 11:47 mark when Brown broke a 52-all tie on a three-point play (55-52).
For the game, Brown was 13-of-21 from the field, 3-of-7 from behind the 3-point line and 4-of-7 from the free-throw line. She also finished with 11 rebounds for her 18th double-double on the year. Of her 33 points, 21 came in the second half.
Even though they never gave up the lead, the Guins couldn't quite shake the Vikings. The largest lead the final 11:47 was six which came with 20.2 seconds left in the contest.
YSU used some staunch defense to maintain its advantage and a lot of toughness to hold on.
Brown had scoring streaks of 10 and eight points in the final 14:22 while at one stretch, she and Touvelle combined to score 28 of 29 points from the 15:14 to the 1:14 mark - exactly 14 minutes.
Brown had a dazzling performance on the day she was named a Capital One Academic All-American. Down the stretch she hit a nifty step-back jumper as the shot clock expired to put the Guins on top 69-65 with 1:52 left. That was her 32nd point of the night, which came after she scored her 30th point on a driving layup with 2:40 left.
The Penguins led by six points with 9.7 left before CSU's Sharlonda Winton made two free throws and intentionally missed two others, in which she grabbed the rebound. The final time however, with 8.3 seconds went for naught as the Guins held on to the four-point win. Winton had 20 points to lead CSU.
For the game, the Guins shot 43.9 percent (25-of-57), including making 15-of-31 in the second half. CSU finished the game at 45.5 percent (25-of-55). Both teams shot below 62 percent from the free-throw line - YSU 61.9 percent (13-of-21) and Cleveland State at 59.3 percent (16-of-27). The Vikings committed 19 turnovers thanks to 11 Penguin steals.
After the opening five minutes the Penguins were forced to play catch up and did for a brief moment when Hornberger connected on a three from the wing at the four-minute mark.
YSU trailed by as many as eight during that 11-minute stretch and eventually tied the game at 22 on a Thompson basket. The Guins went on top for 22 seconds at 25-24 on Hornberger's three before CSU's Cori Coleman answered with a three of her own.
Coleman's triple ignited a 9-0 Vikings run before Brown and Heidi Schlegel scored the final three points of the half to cut the deficit to 33-28 at intermission.
In the first half, YSU shot just 38.5 percent making 10-of-26 attempts while the Vikings were a scorching 56.5 percent knocking down 13-of-23 attempts from the field. The Guins drained five 3-pointers and five from inside the arc during the half.
YSU has a quick turnaround playing at Loyola on Saturday afternoon. Tipoff at the Gentile Center in Chicago is set for noon Eastern time.