Kent, Ohio -- The Youngstown State men's basketball team trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half and cut the deficit to two, but dropped a tough 79-70 decision to Kent State on Saturday evening at the M.A.C. Center.
Senior Bobby Hain scored a game-high 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the floor and grabbed seven rebounds. Junior Matt Donlan scored 15 points, including three 3-pointers, and sophomore Sidney Umude added 10 points.
Sophomore Francisco Santiago dished out eight assists and the Penguins were credited with 22 assists on 24 of their made field goals.
The Penguins fall to 0-1 while the Golden Flashes improve to 1-0.
Leading Kent State was Kellon Thomas with 18 points and Chris Ortiz with a double-double of 12 points and 16 rebounds.
Kent State held a 53-34 advantage on the glass, including 17 offensive rebounds that led to 18 second-chance points. The Golden Flashes also outscored the Penguins 38-20 in the paint.
Three times in the second half the Penguins trailed by double digits and scrapped their way back into the game and got within five twice and twojust over five minutes left.
Ortiz buried a 3-pointer to give the Golden Flashes a 10-point lead, 65-55, with 6:39 to go.
Jorden Kaufman made two free throws and Donlan hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the deficit to 65-63 with 5:08 left.
Kent State pushed the lead back to seven points then Umude split a pair of free throws and Morse hit his second 3-pointer of the game to get within three, 70-67 with 2:22 to go.
The Penguins had a chance to tie after Umude blocked a jumper by Jimmy Hall, but Hain's 3-point attempt was off. The Golden Flashes scored the next seven points to push their lead back to 10.
Down 13 with 17:22 left in the game, the Penguins used a 10-2 runover three minutes to get within five, 49-44, after Hain hit a 3-pointer, two jumpers by Umude and a 3-pointer by Morse.
In the first half, the Penguins hung tight with the Golden Flashes and trailed by four, 22-18 after a layup by Morse midway through the stanza.
Kent State, however, pushed its lead to 11, 38-27, with 3:51 to go.
Two free throws by Donlan and a jumper by Hain cut the deficit to seven, 38-31, and the teams traded baskets to close out the half with the Golden Flashes leading 40-33.
For the game, the Penguins shot 40 percent (24-for-60) from the field and made nine 3-pointers.
Youngstown State hosts Toledo in the 2015-16 home opener, Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the Beeghly Center. Tipoff is at 7:05 p.m.