Canisius Holds Off YSU Rally for 90-84 Win

Francisco Santiago (Photo by Jory Baniecki)
Francisco Santiago (Photo by Jory Baniecki)

The Youngstown State men's basketball team trimmed a 17-point second-half deficit down to four but couldn't complete the comeback in a 90-84 loss to Canisius on Saturday afternoon at Beeghly Center.

Francisco Santiago led the Penguins with 23 points and 11 assists as one of seven YSU players with at least eight points. YSU shot 53.2 percent from the field, but Canisius countered at 52.5 percent and outscored the Penguins by nine at the free-throw line. The Golden Griffins also scored 22 points on offensive rebounds.

Kassius Robertson scored a game-high 27 points to lead Canisius.

Youngstown State scored 11 of the game's first 15 points and led 11-4 on a Cameron Morse bucket at the 15:59 mark. The margin was still seven at 13-6 when Canisius scored seven straight points to tie the score at the 12:47 mark.

Canisius' first lead came at 17-15 at the 11:22 mark, and YSU's final lead came when Santiago drilled a 3-pointer less than a minute later to make the score 20-18. Canisius went on a 9-2 run to go up 27-22, and the Golden Griffins' lead grew to as much as 39-31 when Robertson hit a 3 with 1:30 left. Canisius led 41-35 at halftime.

Canisius went up by double digits for the first time when Robertson hit another triple at the 18:14 mark of the second half, and it stayed ahead by at least 10 until the final five minutes. The largest lead came at 76-59 on a Selvedin Planincic jumper with 8:44 remaining.

YSU rattled off seven straight points over the next two minutes to get within 76-66, and a Brett Frantz 3-pointer cut the deficit to single digits at 82-73 with 4:36 left. Santiago's basket with two minutes left got the Penguins within 84-79. Youngstown State's next two possessions ended in a missed 3-pointer and an offensive foul, and Canisius went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final 40 seconds. Morse's 3-pointer with 14 seconds left made the score 88-84, which was as close as YSU got.

Youngstown State will play at Robert Morris on Wednesday at 7 p.m.