Basketball at Beeghly Center || YSU’s mistakes costly

Turnovers helped send the Penguins to a 70-61 loss.



YOUNGSTOWN — For just about 30 minutes, Youngstown State men’s basketball team played against Kent State just about the way coach Jerry Slocum wanted them to play.

Then in the final 10 minutes, the Penguins went cold from the field, committed too many turnovers and missed too many free throws and the Flashes went on to post a 70-61 victory before 4,112 fans at Beeghly Center.

YSU (1-2) was deadlocked with Kent (3-1) at 40-40 with just over 10 minutes remaining in the contest. Then the Penguins went four minutes without even scoring and fell behind 53-40, battled back, but made just 9-of 16 free throws and threw the ball away just when they started a comeback in the final minute of play.

“We made 19 turnovers and they had 14 offensive rebounds and that’s not even counting the times we were fouled and missed both shots because that’s the same thing as a turnover,” said Slocum.

“We tied the game up, but over the next 10 minutes we just had too many miscommunications out on the floor,” he added.

The Penguins trailed by 13 points, 56-43, with 5:50 remaining in the contest, but cut that margin to six points, 63-57, with just under a minute to play and forced the Flashes into a turnover.

But on the next inbounds pass the Penguins threw the ball away and Kent’s Rodriquez Sherman picked off the pass and raced to an easy dunk shot that put an end to the rally.

The Penguins, who shot just 39.6 percent from the field for the game and were just 4-for-13 from 3-point range, put three players in double figures led by senior Sirlester Martin and junior Vytas Sulskis with 15 points each, while senior DeAndre Mays finished with 14 points.

The Penguins were just 19-of-28 from the free throw line and were outrebounded 37-34, including 14-10 on the offensive boards.

Kent also had three players in double figures led by Tyree Evans with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field including 4-of-5 from 3-point range. Justin Green added 17 points and Sherman had 15.

The Penguins fell behind early in the game as Sherman connected on his first two shots, both 3-pointers and the Flashes built a 10-3 advantage.

YSU fought back and when sophomore Ashen Ward connected on a 3-pointer the lead was cut to 14-10.

The Penguins only led once in the contest and that came after an 8-0 run and Mays hit the bucket after redshirt freshman Eddie D’Haiti blocked a shot and Mays went coast-to-coast for an 18-17 YSU lead, but Evan came right back with his first 3-pointer and the Flashes quickly regained the lead and never trailed again.

Kent held a 30-24 lead at intermission.

The Penguins kept the game close in the early minutes of the second half and tied the contest 36-36 on Sulskis’ driving layup. The game was tied at 38 and again at 40 before the Penguins hit a big slump.

Evans hit a 3-point shot with 10:21 remaining and that was the start of a 13-0 run that pulled the Flashes into a 53-40 lead.

The Penguins still trailed by 11, 58-47, before making a move. They outscored the Flashes 8-3 over the next two minute and cut the lead to 61-55 on a 3-pointer by Martin.

The lead was still six points when the Penguins tried to inbounds a pass with 51 seconds left and Sherman stole it and scored and that was it for the Penguins.

YSU will now go on the road for its next contest which is Saturday afternoon at St. Peter’s (N.J.) in a 2 p.m. tip-off and will return home next Tuesday to take on Geneva College in a 7:05 start at Beeghly Center.

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