Cold Start to Second Half Hurts Men's Basketball in 72-68 Loss at UIC

YSU Basketball vs Milwaukee
YSU Basketball vs Milwaukee

Chicago, Ill. -- Sophomore Kendrick Perry scored a team-high 19 points and led five players scoring in double figures, but a cold start to the second half resulted in a 72-68 loss to UIC for the Youngstown State men's basketball team on Thursday night at the UIC Pavilion.

Senior Ashen Ward scored 14 points, junior Blake Allen posted 12, senior DuShawn Brooks added 11 and junior Damian Eargle contributed 10 points with seven blocks.

It marks the first time that five players reached double figures in scoring since Feb. 4, 2010, against Loyola when six players posted at least 10 points.

With the loss, the Guins fall to 12-10 overall and 7-5 in the Horizon League while the Flames improve to 7-15 overall and 3-9 in the league.

Trailing by nine, 66-57, with 56 seconds left, Perry drained two 3-pointers in the span of five seconds to get within three, 66-63, with 43.9 seconds to go. Brooks then knocked away a pass and, as he was falling out-of-bounds, tried to find a teammate but could not connect.

The Guins fought to the end with Perry's layup that brought them within three, 68-65, and a 3-pointer by Allen with 11 seconds to go that put them within two, 70-68.

Gary Talton's two free throws with eight seconds remaining sealed the victory for the Flames.

The Flames erased an early eight-point second half deficit, 40-32, held the Penguins, who made justtwo of their first 11 second-half field-goal attempts, scoreless for four-and-a-half minutes and scored 12 straight points to take a 44-40 lead with 13:15 left in the game.

The Penguins continued to chip away at the Flames lead and worked it down to one on three different occasions, the last 50-49 after a layup by Perry with 8:08 to go.

UIC, though, scored the next 10 points to ballooned its lead to 11, 60-49, with 5:23 remaining.

The first half featured nine lead changes and six ties in the 15 minutes of the game before the Guins gained control.

Down one, 20-19, with 4:51 to go, the Guins used a 10-2 run over two minutes to grabbed a seven-point advantage, 29-22, with 2:35 left.

Three-pointers by Brooks and Ward sparked the run and two free throws by both Ward and Nate Perry capped the spurt.

UIC quickly responded with five straight points to get within two, 29-27, but a jumper by Ward and layups by Perry and Eargle pushed the lead back to eight, 35-27, with six seconds left.

Talton, though, drove the length of the court and converted a layup at the buzzer and brought the Flames within six, 35-29, at the half.

The Guins close out their three-game road trip and play their fourth game in nine days when they visit Loyola, Sunday, Feb. 5, at 2 p.m. EDT.