Senior Blake Allen and freshman Bobby Hain each scored 19 points to lead five players in double figures as the Youngstown State men’s basketball team defeated George Washington, 80-73, on Saturday afternoon at the Smith Center.
Hain, who posted a double-double in his college debut, added 11 rebounds as the Penguins won the rebounding battle over the Colonials (0-1), 43-38.
Senior Damian Eargle and sophomore DJ Cole each scored 11 points, and sophomore Shawn Amiker added 10 to help the Penguins to their third straight season-opening win. Cole and Amiker recorded career scoring highs against the Colonials.
The Penguins owned an 11-point halftime advantage, but George Washington rallied to get within one on two occasions then tied the game with under a minute to go.
GW’s Joe McDonald hit a jumper with 11:14 to go cut the YSU lead to 53-52, but Cole answered with a jumper to go back up three, 55-52, with 10:38 left.
Dwayne Smith’s layup with at the 10:25 mark made it 55-54, then Allen connected on a huge 3-pointer to give the Penguins a four-point cushion, 58-54, with 9:38 left.
Allen, who made four triples, hit three second-half 3-pointers, including two more at the 7:46 mark that pushed the YSU lead to five, 63-58 and with 2:40 to go that extended the lead to six points, 71-65.
George Washington tied the game at 71-71 with 58 seconds left on a dunk by Isiah Armwood, but the Penguins regained a 74-71 edge after an old-fashioned three-point play by Eargle with 40 seconds left.
A steal and two free throws by Allen pushed the Penguins lead back to five 76-71 with 25 seconds left.
Free throws by junior Kendrick Perry, Hain and two more by Allen in the final 21 seconds sealed the victory.
The Penguins struggled from the field, making just one of their first nine shots but never trailed by more than five points. They finished the half converting 13 of their next 24 field-goal attempts.
After trailing 11-6 eight minutes into the game, the Penguins took their first lead on a 3-pointer by Kamren Belin, who had nine rebounds, at the 9:56 left in the first.
A three-point play by Armwood gave the Colonials another five-point lead with 6:03 to go before the Penguins closed out the half on a 20-4 run.
Allen made the first of his four 3-pointers and converted two free-throws to tie the game at 28-28.
Hain then scored the next seven points on a layup, two free throws and a 3-pointer to put YSU ahead 35-28.
The Penguins extended their lead to 12, 41-29, after a put-back by Hain, a layup by Cole and another jumper by Hain.
The Penguins visit SEC member Georgia, Monday, at 7 p.m. in a nationally-televised game on ESPNU.