Cathcart's Final-Second 3-Pointer Lifts YSU to Fifth Straight Win

Donel Cathcart III makes the game-winner against IUPUI on Thursday night. (Photo By Robert Hayes)
Donel Cathcart III makes the game-winner against IUPUI on Thursday night. (Photo By Robert Hayes)

Youngstown State junior Donel Cathcart III knocked down a 3-pointer with 5.8 seconds left to left the Penguins to a 75-73 win over IUPUI on Thursday night at the Beeghly Center. The victory was YSU's fifth consecutive, the most for the school since 1998-99. 

The Penguins (11-16 overall and 7-7 in the Horizon League) appeared to be on their way to win leading 59-44 with 10:32 remaining. But the Jaguars (14-12 and 6-7) went on a 13-0 run to pull within 59-57 at the 6:36 left.

From that point it was a back-and-forth contest. YSU surged to a 66-60 lead with just over five minutes remaining. However, IUPUI scored the next five points to get within 66-65 with 4:19 remaining.

After the teams trade baskets, the Jaguars took a 69-68 lead with 2:34 left on a hanging layup by Ahmed Ismail. A driving layup by Darius Quisenberry with 2:15 put the Guins ahead 70-69 and he followed with a pair of free throws with 1:37 left to push the advantage to 72-69. IUPUI scored the next four points as D.J. McCall scored on a layup with 1:22 left and Evan Hall made a layup with 48.4 seconds left.

Down 73-72, Cathcart missed a 14-footer, but when Grant Weatherford grabbed the rebound he was out of bounds. After a YSU timeout with 15.8 seconds remaining, Quisenberry droke and kicked a pass out to Donel Cathcart who drained a 3-pointer with 5.8 seconds left. IUPUI hurried down the court and Nick Rogers' 3-point attempt at the buzzer was short.

Jelani Simmons and Quisenberry each scored 17 points while Michael Akuchie came off the bench to score a season-high 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting. 

For the game, YSU shot 41.4 percent making 24-of-58 shots from the field, including 11 3-pointers. IUPUI shot 46.3 percent making 25-of-54. The Jaguars missed nine free throws in the contest.

The Penguins opened things up in the first half on the strength of 18-5 run after rallying to take an 11-10 lead. 

Leading 11-10, Akuchie and Darren Morgan connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to increase the YSU lead to 17-12. Following a pair of Cathcart free throws, Quisenberry drained a 3-pointer and Akuchie converted a layup to push the YSU advantage up to 24-12.

A 3-pointer by D.J. McCall pulled IUPUI within 24-15 before a Noe Anabir free throw and a Quisenberry fast-break layin put the Guins on top 29-15. 

YSU's biggest lead of the opening half came at 34-19 after Quisenberry drained a 3-pointer at the 5:34 mark.

In the first half, the Penguins shot 42.9 percent making 12-of-28 attempts while the Jaguars were 10-of-28 from the field and just 2-of-10 from behind the 3-point arc. Half of the made field goals by the Guins came from 3-point range on 13 attempts.

YSU's bench was key in the first half producing 17 points, seven of which were by Akuchie. 

The Penguins close out their homestand against UIC on Saturday night at the Beeghly Center. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.