Youngstown State's Kendrick Perry scored 30 points on his senior night, but Oakland made big shots down the stretch and outlasted the Penguins 87-81 in a back-and-forth battle on Saturday evening at Beeghly Center.
The Penguins will have a chance for revenge in just three days as the same teams will square off at Oakland in the first round of the Horizon League Tournament on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Youngstown State finishes the regular season 15-16 overall and 6-10 in conference play while Oakland finishes 12-19 and 7-9.
Perry was 11-for- 18 from the floor, including 2-for-5 from 3-point range, and 6-for-10 from the free-throw line in his final regular-season home game. He added eight assists, without committing a turnover, and five rebounds in 40 minutes. Four other Penguins reached double figures with Bobby Hain scoring 15, Ryan Weber scoring 13, Shawn Amiker scoring 12 and D.J. Cole posting 11.
Oakland's Travis Bader scored a game-high 33 points, Corey Petros had 23 points and 13 rebounds, and Kahlil Felder had 10 points and 12 assists.
After Perry scored the first bucket of the second half to put YSU up 47-43, Oakland scored five straight points to go up 48-47. That was the first of 13 lead changes in the second half, and neither team led by more than three for the next 15 minutes.
Cole's steal and layup with 5:38 remaining gave the Penguins a 71-69 lead, which ended up being their final advantage of the night. Felder and Bader hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to put the Golden Grizzlies up 75-71, and another Bader triple at the 1:43 mark put them ahead 80-75.
Perry answered with a bucket to bring the Penguins back to within a possession, and Bader missed a 3 on Oakland's next trip down the floor. Hain missed a two-pointer for YSU with 44 seconds left, and the Penguins started fouling to extend the game. Bader made both ends of a one-and-one to put Oakland up by five, and Duke Mondy stole the inbounds pass and added two free throws to push the difference to 84-77. The Golden Grizzlies ended up making 7-of-8 from the free-throw line in the final 33 seconds, and Perry scored YSU's final four points.
Both teams shot well from the field. Oakland converted 54.5 percent overall and 45.5 percent from 3, and it was 17-of-23 from the free-throw line. YSU shot 53.4 percent overall and 47.1 percent from 3, although it was just 1-for-5 from beyond the arc in the second half after going 7-for-12 in the first 20 minutes. The Penguins were also 11-of-19 from the free-throw line.
Oakland scored 11 of the game's first 14 points and led 11-3 after a Ralph Hill triple at the 16:24 mark. Perry and Weber hit back-to-back 3s for YSU to get the score within two, and the largest lead for either team was five the rest of the period.
Following a three-point play by Petros, Weber hit a 3 for the Penguins that started a 10-2 run that gave them a 19-16 lead. After Oakland regained the lead at 20-19, Perry scored four of the next five points to give YSU a four-point lead, its largest of the half.
YSU's lead was still four at 26-22 following a Weber bucket at the 8:25 mark, but Oakland scored the next nine points to go up 31-26 with 5:21 left in the period. YSU reclaimed the lead at 40-38 on a Perry jumper, and the senior's 3-pointer put the Penguins on top 43-39 with a minute left. He made a free throw with 37 seconds remaining to reach 20 points in the first 20 minutes.
Youngstown State was 7-for-12 from 3-point range in the first half while shooting 56 percent overall, and Oakland shot 56.7 percent. Weber scored 11 points to add to Perry's 20, and Petros was 7-of-8 for 15 points with nine rebounds for the Golden Grizzlies.