YSU wins 2nd straight game
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Brian Radakovich's clutch 3-point goal with 39 seconds remaining gave Youngstown State the lead, and the Penguins held on for a 76-75 victory over Loyola University Thursday at Beeghly Center.
The win gave the Penguins (6-12, 3-6) their first two-game winning streak in over two years and their first ever in the Horizon League.
Radakovich, a junior from Steubenville, gave YSU a 72-70 lead with his 3-pointer, then added two free throws with 30 seconds remaining. Junior Doug Underwood also sank a pair of free throws with 20 seconds to go to give the Penguins a 76-70 advantage.
But the Ramblers (6-13, 2-7), who lost their eighth straight game, pulled within a point on DaJuan Gouard's 3-point basket with .5 seconds remaining and the Ramblers almost intercepted the inbounds pass.
"We like to keep things interesting, give the fans something to talk about," quipped Radakovich.
His 3-point shot wasn't designed, but he was left alone he couldn't pass up the try.
"We wanted to get the ball inside, but Brian was wide open on the shot," said coach John Robic. "I preferred not to take the 3-point shot, but we wanted a quick shot to make it a two-possession game."
This was the third straight game the Penguins led going into the final seconds. They lost in overtime to Butler and almost gave away the lead against Cleveland State last Saturday.
"The kids have a hard time understanding that the game's not over," Robic said. "That's why I called a timeout."
Radakovich led the Penguins with 17 points off the bench. He made 7-of-8 at the foul line. Underwood added 16 points, while senior Adam Baumann had 11 points before fouling out in the final two minutes. TeJay Anderson scored 10 points off the bench.
The Penguins, who shot 41.9 percent for the game, including 52.9 percent in the first half and 28.6 percent in the second half, out-rebounded Loyola 33-30, with Baumann getting eight.
The victory moved Youngstown State into seventh place in the Horizon League standings. The Penguins are one game behind Butler, which defeated Cleveland State Thursday night.
"The kids are starting to get momentum," said Robic. "This win makes Saturday's win even better and that loss to Butler really stings."
The Penguins fell behind 10-2 in the opening three minutes, but battled back to tie the score at 22-all with 9:57 remaining.
Anderson's tip-in gave YSU a 29-27 lead, which it extended to eight points (38-30). The Penguins led 45-37 at halftime.
An 8-0 run by the Ramblers gave them a 53-51 lead and from there were eight ties and 13 lead changes in the final 12 minutes.
Loyola took its final lead, 70-69, with 1:10 remaining on a drive by Demetrius Williams, who led the Ramblers with 18 points, before Radakovich gave the Penguins the lead for good with his 3-pointer.
YSU will try for its first three-game winning streak in three seasons when it plays host to Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne in a non-league game Saturday at 2 p.m. at Beeghly Center.