Men's Basketball Falls to Oakland in the Quarterfinals, 88-84

Naz Bohannon (Photo By Jose Juarez)
Naz Bohannon (Photo By Jose Juarez)

Rochester, Mich. -- The No. 6 Youngstown State men's basketball team made 14 3-pointers, which tied for the second most of the season, and shot 52.8 percent in the second half, but the Penguins dropped an 88-84 decision to No. 3 Oakland in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Little Caesars Horizon League Championship on Wednesday night at the O'Rena.

Youngstown State finishes the season with an overall record of 12-20, a four-win improvement from a year ago, while Oakland improves to 16-16. The Golden Grizzlies advnace to face No. 2 Northern Kentucky in the semifinals on March 11 at Little Caesers Arena in Detroit, Mich.

Junior Devin Morgan led the Penguins with 19 points and tied a career high with five 3-pointers while sophomore Naz Bohannon had 17 points and nine rebounds. Bohannon also posted the 500th rebound of his career.

Freshman Jelani Simmons made four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points while classmate Darius Quisenberry added 11 points and six assists. 

Leading Oakland was Jaevin Cumberland with a game-high 23 points while Tray Maddox had 19, and Xavier Hill-Mais had a double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Brad Brechting also posted a double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds and Branden Norris added 10 points.

The Penguins were whistled for 30 fouls, compared to just 13 for Oakland, and the Golden Grizzlies converted 32-of-45 shots from the free-throw line. The Penguins went 6-of-10 from charity stripe.

The Penguins made eight more field goals, six more 3-pointers and turned the ball over just 11 times.

Oakland scored the first nine points of the game before the Penguins clawed back into to take leads of 24-22 and 26-24 late in the first half. Oakland though outscored the Penguins, 10-4, over the last 4:58 to take a 34-30 lead into the lockerroom. The Golden Grizzlies made just eight field goals in the first half, but went 13-of-17 from the line.

Oakland was able to extend its lead to as many as 10 points, 59-49, at the 10:31 mark, but the Penguins went on an 11-4 run to get within three, 63-60, with 7:34 to go. The Golden Grizzlies scored seven straight points over the next 1:57 to boost their lead back to 10, 70-60.

A late layup by Simmons with 42 seconds left brought the Penguins within five, 81-76, but Oakland made 7-of-8 down the stretch to seal the victory.