Kennesaw,Ga. – Senior Kendrick Perry scored a game-high 20 points and sophomore Ryan Weber scored a career-high 18 to lead the Youngstown State men's basketball team to a 73-57 season-opening win over Kennesaw State on Friday evening at the KSU Convocation Center.
The Penguins improve to 1-0 and have now won four straight season openers while the Owls fall to 0-1.
Perry connected on 7-of-13 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds with five assists and three steals. It marked the 21st time that Perry has scored at least 20 points in his career. He also moved into 16th place on the YSU all-time scoring list with 1,329 career points. He surpassed Vytas Sulskis (1,311 - 2007-11) needs 19 more points to move into 15th place on the all-time list.
Weber nailed 7-of-12 field-goal attempts, including four 3-pointers, and netted a career-best five steals.
Freshman Marcus Keene reached double figures in his college debut with 10 points, five rebounds and three assists. Senior Kamren Belin also reached double figures with 10 points and grabbed five boards.
The Penguins turned in a strong defensive effort from the outset, forcing KSU to miss their first nine field-goal attempts, and outrebounded the Owls, 40-34. Kennesaw State shot just 34.6 percent from the floor, including just 22.2 percent in the first half.
Midway through the first half the Penguins used a 16-1 run over a six minute span to turn a one-point edge into a 16-point lead, 28-12, with 4:18 to go.
After YSU owned a 10-2 lead early in the game, the Owls used a 9-2 run to get within one, 12-11, before the Penguins' transition offense began to click. A dunk and jumper by Perry and consecutive 3-pointers by Weber boosted the Penguins lead back to 10 with 7:46 left.
Another 3 by Weber, his third of the half, a layup by DJ Cole and two free throws from Perry extended the YSU lead to 16, 28-12.
The Owls chipped the lead down to nine, 28-19 with two minutes left, but a jumper by Keene, a layup by junior Shawn Amiker, and a dunk by Perry pushed the lead back to 15, 34-19, with just over a minute left in the half.
In the second half, the Penguins shot 44.8 percent from the field and ran their lead to 18 points, 45-27, after a 3-pointer by Keene just six-and-a-half minutes into the frame.
YSU twice led by as many as 20 points, 56-36, and 63-43, and the Owls never came with 14 the rest of the way.
The Penguins face Florida International, Saturday, at 3 p.m. at the KSU Convention Center.