YSU kept it close for 32 minutes of their game at Cleveland State.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
CLEVELAND -- For 32 minutes, it looked like Youngstown State might bring an end to its long road losing streak.
But the Penguins fell apart in the final eight minutes in losing 86-76 to Horizon League rival Cleveland State Thursday night.
YSU matched the Vikings bucket for bucket, trailing only 62-61 with eight minutes remaining. But a 13-4 run gave Cleveland State a 75-65 lead with 3:25 to go.
"When we needed to make a tough play down the stretch, we didn't make it," YSU coach John Robic said. "Cleveland State 'out-toughed' us in crunch time."
The Penguins (8-14, 4-7 Horizon) lost their 26th straight regular season game and their road losing streak is at 28 games overall.
The Vikings (8-16, 3-7) snapped a seven-game losing streak.
"They pounded us on the boards in the second half," Robic said, "and we also missed a total of 19 easy shots from within 3 or 4 feet.
"You can't do that and expect to beat a team in their building," Robic said. "We have to find a way to overcome that stretch when the game is on the line."
Three Penguins finished in double figures, led by sophomore Doug Underwood with 22 points. Adam Baumann finished with 11 and Marlon Williamson added 10.
Percell Coles scored 25 points for Cleveland State and Jermaine Robinson added 24. Tahric Gosley had 18 points and 17 rebounds, and Walt Chavis scored 10.
All of Gosley's rebounds came in the second half.
"Gosley was an animal out there in the second half," Robic said. "We needed for somebody to lay a body on him, but we didn't do that."
YSU shot 41.3 percent (26-of-63) from the floor, including 6-of-17 from 3-point range.
The Vikings were 28-of-58 (48.3 percent) and 23-of-32 at the line. The Penguins made 18-of-26 at the foul line.
Youngstown State led 42-38 at halftime, but the Vikings pulled ahead 47-46 with 17:22 remaining in the game. Their were six lead changes and two ties over the next seven minutes.
Cleveland State took the lead for good (58-57) with 11:55 remaining and led by five (62-57) with 9:31 to play.
YSU pulled to within one on free throws by TeJay Anderson and Khari McQueen, the last with 8:03 remaining.
The Penguins made just two of its next seven shots from the field, as the Vikings rolled to a 75-65 lead.
YSU got the margin down to 76-71, but missed two straight shots, and in the final minute Cleveland State made 7-of-8 free throws.
The Penguins play host to UW-Milwaukee Saturday at 7 p.m. , then finish the regular season with three of their final four games on the road.