Stingy Defense Leads Men's Basketball to 70-55 Win Over Cleveland State

Sophomore Francisco Santiago
Sophomore Francisco Santiago

Cleveland, Ohio -- The Youngstown State men's basketball team rode a stingy defensive effort to a 70-55 win over Horizon League foe Cleveland State on Sunday afternoon at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Penguins, who improve to 8-13 overall and 3-5 in the Horizon League, forced 15 turnovers, collected 11 steals and outrebounded the Vikings 36-33. The Penguins also limited the Vikings, now 7-14 overall and 2-6 in the league, to a .353 field-goal percentage and .278 3-point percentage.

Sophomore Francisco Santiago turned in outstanding overall game with 12 points, six rebounds, five assists and tied a career high with five steals. Junior Matt Donlan led the Penguin with 16 points with four 3-pointers while sophomore Cameron Morse had 14 points. Morse connected on 9-of-11 from the free-throw line.

Junior Jorden Kaufman just missed a double-double with nine points and a team-high nine rebounds.

Leading the Vikings was Demonte Flanningan with 18 points while Rob Edwards scored 16.

Midway through the second half the Penguins used a 16-2 run over a seven-minute span that turned a two-point lead, 42-40, into a 16-point cushion, 58-42. During that span, the Penguins held the Vikings scoreless for nearly five minutes.

A 3-pointer by Vinny Zollo got the Vikings within, two, 42-40, at the 13:21 mark, but a jumper by Bryce Nickels and a 3-pointer by freshman Jordan Andrews pushed the YSU lead to 47-40. 

CSU's Kenny Carpenter hit the Vikiings' only field goal to get within five, 47-42, but freshman Devin Haygood made four straight free throws, Andrews and Santiago each added a charity toss and Morse drained a 3-pointer at the 6:17 mark to boost the YSU lead to 58-42.

The Vikings never got closer than 11 points the rest of the way.

In the first half, the Penguins jumped out to a 7-2 advantage before the Vikings scored eight straight to take a 10-7 lead after a 3-pointer by Edwards at the 12:52 mark.

The Vikings lead by seven, 19-12, after another 3-pointer by Edwards with 9:47 to go. The Penguins got within one, 21-20, after a 3-pointer by Donlan, who scored all 16 of his points in the first half, a layup by Kaufman and a three free throws by Morse.

Donlan gave the Penguins a 27-25 lead with a 3-pointer at the 3:56 mark before Flannigan knotted the game with a jumper 21 seconds later.

Morse gave the Penguins the lead for good with a pair of free throws with 3:29 left before halftime.

The Penguins visit UIC, Thursday, Jan. 28, at 8 p.m.