BY JOE CATULLO Jr.
Youngstown State basketball player Kendrick Perry had an above average night on Saturday with 32 points, six steals, seven rebounds and four assists.
But it’s what happened in the last 1:12 against Austin Peay that had him say, “I put this one on me” in the 88-86 defeat.
Leading by one point, Perry unintentionally fouled Travis Betran who made both free throws. Betran finished with a team-high 24 points.
YSU (6-3) looked to retake the lead, but Perry missed a layup with 49 seconds remaining.
The Governors (4-3) trickled the clock down to 15 seconds when Zavion Williams nailed a 12-foot jumper. APSU led, 88-85. Williams scored 20 points off the bench.
“We didn’t guard in the end,” YSU coach Jerry Slocum said. “For them to have a game-winning shot from 12 feet, horrendous defensive effort on our part.”
After Perry missed a 3-point attempt, he got the ball back when the Governors intentionally fouled him. Perry made the first and missed the second on purpose. The ball flew out of bounds, and YSU kept possession.
Marcus Keene, playing for the injured DJ Cole, had Perry open for a split second but couldn’t find him. Keene passed it to Ryan Weber with two seconds left, gave it back to Keene and missed a corner 3-pointer to end the game. The plan was to put the ball in Perry’s hands.
“They did a pretty good job defensively. At that point, you got to get a shot up. Everything’s not going to be perfect,” Perry said. “You just got to get yourself the opportunity to at least get a shot up to win the game.”
Williams’ 12-foot jumper concluded a rough defensive effort from YSU. The Governors made only four 3-pointers but tallied 46 points in the paint and eight dunks.
Chris Horton outworked Bobby Hain throughout, finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Overall, APSU shot 58.3 percent from the field.
“We just got outworked, and a lot of it was in the first half,” Perry said. “We didn’t come out aggressive. Defense has got to be our staple. Tonight, it wasn’t.”
On offense, the Penguins shot 45.8 percent from the field (40 in the second half) and 30.8 from beyond the arc. Kamren Belin finished second on the team with 14 points while Keene tallied 12.
Keene made his first collegiate start with Cole out. He injured his left ankle against Kent State on Wednesday early in the second half and did not return. Slocum said he’s unsure when Cole will play again.
“That Marcus Keene scared me to death,” APSU coach Dave Loos said. “He’s a very fine player, too. When we saw that they were starting him, we told our guys that this guy is very offensive-minded. When it got in his hands for that shot, I was worried.”
Next for YSU is another home game on Wednesday against Robert Morris.
“This is as disappointing of a loss that I’ve had in a long time,” Slocum said. “I’m very disappointed with this game.”