Youngstown State led by seven points with less than 10 minutes left.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Frustration just didn't say it all for Youngstown State's men's basketball coach John Robic following the Penguins' 78-77 home loss to Cleveland State on Saturday night.
"It hurts to lose," Robic said. "It doesn't matter if it's by one or if it's by 20."
One game after failing to score in the final eight minutes, the Penguins sputtered again in the final nine minutes of Saturday's game. Khari McQueen's jumper gave Youngstown a 62-55 lead with 9:50 remaining.
But the Vikings edged back and took the lead with three 3-pointers in the final 2:21. Cleveland State's Mike Redell tied the score at 72-72 with a 3-pointer at 2:21, then Steve Gansey's 3-pointer at 1:50 put the Vikings up 75-72.
Redell's final 3-pointer, with 1:08 remaining, increased the Cleveland State lead to 78-73. With the pressure applied, the inexperienced Penguin crew struggled.
"Our team hasn't been in enough games like that to have a chance to do that," Robic said.
But there were bright spots. Youngstown's front court played with passion and precision, Robic said. On three separate occasions, either McQueen or Brian Radakovich, both forwards, asked to be taken off the court because of exhaustion. Radakovich went 8-of-11 from the field and finished with 19 points. McQueen scored 15 points with six rebounds.
"They played great," Robic said. "They couldn't have given anything more than they did. They played as long as they could and as hard as they could."
Penguin guard Quin Humphrey scored 17 points. But in the end, guards not rotating out to the perimeter to pick up the Vikings' long-range shooters proved the difference, Robic said.
The Penguins (3-15, 1-7) play at Loyola of Chicago on Wednesday.