Cameron Morse hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 0.2 seconds left in regulation, and the Youngstown State men's basketball team outlasted Milwaukee for an 88-87 victory in double overtime in the Horizon League opener for both schools on Thursday evening at Beeghly Center.
The Penguins did not trail in either of the overtime sessions, but Milwaukee stayed within one possession the entire time. In fact, neither team led by more than three over the final 19 minutes of the contest, which featured 20 lead changes.
Morse finished with a game-high 33 points, 32 of which came in regulation. Francisco Santiago had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Jorden Kaufman and Brett Frantz both had 10 points. Braun Hartfield had eight points and 11 rebounds, and he had a key bucket and block down the stretch in the second overtime.
Brock Stull had 26 points and 10 rebounds, and he hit the tying bucket with 6.9 seconds left in the first overtime for Milwaukee.
While the final 19 minutes were within one possession, there was an 18-point swing in the first half as Milwaukee led by 11 and YSU had a seven-point advantage.
Youngstown State led 8-3 and 10-5 in the first four-plus minutes, and a Matt Donlan 3-pointer gave the Penguins a 13-7 lead at the 15:53 mark. The Penguins missed eight straight field-goal attempts over the next seven minutes, and Milwaukee built a 24-13 advantage. The Panthers, though, didn't score for almost the next five minutes.
Morse ended YSU's scoring drought with a pair of free throws at the 9:40 mark to make the score 24-15, and his 3-pointer with 8:59 remaining stopped the stretch without a field goal. The Penguins went on to score 15 consecutive points and led 28-24 on a Frantz basket with 5:55 remaining. YSU's lead grew to seven twice in the final 2:30 on baskets by Kaufman and Hartfield. The Penguins led 43-37 at halftime.
Despite the long scoring droughts, both teams shot better than 50 percent in the first half. Morse scored 14 points in the first half, and Frantz had seven off the bench.
After Milwaukee scored in the first 10 seconds of the second half, the largest lead for either team in the final 30 minutes was when Youngstown State held a 59-54 advantage with 9:24 remaining. Milwaukee scored the next six points to go up 60-59 at the 6:15 mark, and the lead changed hands five times over the next three minutes until the score deadlocked at 67 with 3:24 left.
Jeremiah Bell hit a 3 for the Panthers with 2:25 left to put them ahead 70-67, and Devin Haygood's bucket cut the deficit to one on YSU's next possession. Stull's layup with 59.1 seconds remaining gave UWM a 72-69 and set the stage for Morse's tying basket.
With a six-second differential between the shot clock and game clock, YSU elected not to foul and got the defensive stop it needed. Santiago grabbed the defensive rebound, and Morse hit from 28 feet to send the game to overtime.
YSU never trailed in the first overtime, but its largest lead was only two. Santiago gave the Penguins their fourth two-point lead in the extra session with a pair of free throws with 1:01 left, and both teams missed two free throws in the final 40 seconds. Stull's tying basket came with 6.9 seconds left.
Haygood scored on an offensive rebound on YSU's first possession of the second overtime, and a Frantz 3-pointer at the 3-minute mark put YSU up 86-83. Stall made two free throws to cut the deficit to one with 1:18 left, and Hartfield hit a basket in the lane to put YSU up 88-85 with 56 seconds left. Hartfield then blocked Stull's 3-point attempt on the next possession, and YSU came away empty on an attempt to extend the lead beyond one possession. Cody Wichmann missed a tying 3 with eight seconds left for Milwaukee, and Brett Prahl grabbed the offensive rebound and made two free throws with 5.8 seconds left. Donlan missed two free throws with three seconds left, but Milwaukee did not get a quality look at a winning attempt.
Youngstown State will continue Horizon League play against Green Bay on Saturday. Tipoff against the Phoenix is set for 1 p.m.