Penguins Pull Out Thrilling 68-66 Victory over League-Leader UWM

YSU Basketball vs Milwaukee
YSU Basketball vs Milwaukee

Coach Jerry Slocum Postgame Video | Blake Allen Postgame Video

Ashen Ward's putback with 32.4 seconds remaining broke a 66-all tie and a huge block by Damian Eargle ended any Milwaukee overtime hoops as the Youngstown State men's basketball team beat the Panthers 68-66 at the Beeghly Center on Friday.

Ward's basket was the only field goal made by the Penguins in the final 12:02, which was also by Ward. No YSU player made a field goal in the final 13 minutes outside of Ward. In that span, the Penguins made 12 free throws.

With the win, YSU improves to 10-8 overall and 5-3 in the Horizon League while Milwaukee is 13-7 and 6-2.

Blake Allen scored a career-best 27 points, Ashen Ward had 13 and Damian Eargle scored 10 points and hauled in 10 rebounds in a winning effort. The Panthers had four players finish in double figures with Kaylon Williams leading the way by scoring 18.

UWM trailed for more than 24 minutes before taking a 61-59 lead on a long 3-pointer by Williams with 4:35 left.

YSU pulled within 62-61 on two Allen free throws with 3:18 left. UWM went back on top by by three on a nifty alley-oop dunk play from Williams to Ryan Allen at the 2:57 mark. That was the final field goal of the evening the for the Panthers.

The Penguins went to the line to take a brief lead. Kendrick Perry made one of two free throws with 2:40 left, and then made one of a pair at the 2:25 mark. However, DuShawn Brooks grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He made both his attempts putting the Penguins on top 65-64 with 2:24 left.

The Panthers' James Haarsma connected on two foul shots putting UWM back in front 66-65 with 1:57 remaining. YSU pulled even when Perry was fouled away from the ball and made one of two shots with 1:47 left.

Each team had a chance to gain the lead, but good defense by the Guins forced Kyle Helm into a three as the shot clock expired and Perry grabbed the rebound.

The Panthers played tight defense on the Penguins and Perry was forced to throw up an awkward 3-pointer. But Ward grabbed the rebound and had a twisting putback with 32.4 ticks left.

After UWM called timeout with 19.9 seconds left, Williams missed a 3-pointer, however Tony Meier grabbed the offensive rebound. Meier's 16-footer was swatted by Eargle into Allen's hands who tossed the ball ahead to Perry as time expired.

YSU had a solid a first half behind a solid performance by Allen and some quality overall shooting. The Penguins made 15-of-29 from the field (51.7 percent) and were 8-of-13, a scorching 61.5 percent from behind the 3-point arc.

Allen was 7-of-7 from the field, including 6-of-6 from behind the 3-point line. He was two-of-two from the free-throw line just for good measure in scoring 22 points. Allen opened the game's scoring with a layup and followed by making six consecutive 3-pointers throughout the next 19 minutes.

Milwaukee had the advantage the first 10 minutes before the Penguins closed the half with an impressive 28-12 rally.

The Panthers built an 18-13 lead on a layup by Kyle Kelm with 11:23 left in the first half.

YSU started their rally with a fastbreak layup by Kendrick Perry with 9:47 left. The Guins tied the game for the fifth time in the opening half when Ward drilled a three from the right wing with just 27 seconds later.

The run continued as Allen drained his second 3-pointer of the first half giving YSU a 21-18 advantage with 8:58 left in the first half. The Guins did not trail after that point until just under five minutes remained in the second half.

Allen and Nate Perry connected on back-to-back 3-pointers as YSU went in front 28-19 with 6:28 left. After a basket by the Panthers' Paris Gulley, Ward nailed a trey giving the Guins their first double-digit advantage of the night at 31-21.

UWM crept within 36-30 at the 1:43 mark, but an Eargle hoop and a 3-pointer by Allen with five ticks left before halftime gave the Guins a 41-30 halftime lead.

The Penguins return to action on Sunday when they play host to Green Bay. Tipoff at the Beeghly Center is set for 2:05 p.m.