Quin Humphrey and Byron Davis were strong at the foul line late in the Penguins' 68-63 win.



Quin Humphrey and Byron Davis were strong at the foul line late in the Penguins' 68-63 win.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Youngstown State and Cleveland State teams are not among the top teams in the Horizon League this season, but you would never have known it during Saturday's contest at Beeghly Center.
YSU (9-11, 4-4 Horizon League) held off a Vikings rally late in the game and pulled out a 68-63 victory before 3,859 fans.
Senior Quin Humphrey and junior Byron Davis each hit clutch free throws in the final seconds to put the Penguins over the top against the Vikings (7-14, 1-7).
The win gives the Penguins the most wins in a season that they've had in the last six seasons and puts them in sole possession of fifth place in the conference standings.
"I thought our kids battled hard tonight and we hit some long 3-point shots and some clutch foul shots at the end when we needed them," said YSU coach Jerry Slocum.
"We didn't play well overall tonight, but we never stopped battling," Slocum added.
"It was a good win for us and puts us 4-4 in the conference with what I call the toughest stretch of conference games coming up."
Double-double for Humphrey
Humphrey led the Penguins with 22 points and 12 rebounds for his third double-double of the season and 14th of his career.
Kenston Roberts added 20 points, while junior John Barber had a career-high 18 points and eight rebounds.
"John Barber had a career night and it just might have been the difference in the ball game," Slocum added.
The Penguins held a 33-28 halftime lead, but the Vikings battled back to take the lead 40-39 in the first eight minutes of the second half.
The Penguins went back on top on two free throws and a bucket by Barber and Roberts canned a long 3-pointer for a 46-40 YSU lead.
The Penguins still led 57-50 with less than five minutes remaining, but Cleveland State on three baskets by Bahaadar Russell, two of them 3-pointers pulled the Vikings to within one point 59-58.
After Humphrey and Raheem Moss exchanged 3-point shots, Davis went to the line and hit two clutch free throws with 29.9 seconds remaining.
After Russell missed a long shot, Humphrey rebounded and was fouled with 17 seconds and made both for a 66-61 lead.
The Vikings tried a long pass, but Humphrey picked it off and threw the length of the court to Barber who slammed it through to wrap up the win.
Rugged first half
The Penguins and Vikings battled through a rugged first half that saw the game tied six times and the lead changed hands six times before the Penguins took command 27-24 on a 3-point basket by Roberts with 4:14 remaining in the half.
Roberts came right back to add another triple, while John Barber hit two free throws and Humphrey one as the Penguins held a 33-28 halftime advantage.
The Vikings jumped out to a 5-2 lead, but YSU tied it on a Humphrey 3-point shot with 17:40 left in the half.
YSU then took an 8-5 advantage and still led 11-7 before the Vikings tied it at 13-13 with 12:28.
The Penguins finished with 24 of 59 shots from the field for 40 percent, but were outrebounded 40-37. Cleveland State shot just 37.3 percent.
The Penguins will go back on the road to meet Wright State on Wednesday in a 7 p.m. tip-off in Dayton.
mollica@vindy.com

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