After the fifth one, all Blake Allen could do was smile and stick out his tongue.
Allen hit five three-pointers in the second half – six in the entire game – scoring 18 points in leading the Youngstown State University men’s basketball team to a 75-60 victory against St Francis (Pa.) University in its home-opener Friday night.
“It feels pretty good, I’m not gonna lie,” Allen said about his ability to knock down the three. “It’s just a really good feeling. You feel like every one you shoot is gonna go in.”
Considering the amount of work Allen put’s in, his performance should be no surprise. Over the past two days alone, he’s put up “800 or 900” practice shots.
“I try to get in and really try to utilize the mornings,” he said. “We practice at 10 a.m., so I always try to utilize the mornings to put a little extra time in.”
Allen’s behind-the-arc accuracy proved vital in the Penguins (3-0) victory, as it helped stretch a 29-24 halftime lead into a comfortable second half advantage. Shooting 60.7 percent, YSU outs cored the Red Flash 46-36 in the second half.
“We were able to come out and play with a little more energy,” Allen said. “We were a little dead. I don’t know if it was first game jitters, but I thought we were a little dead…The second half we kind of fed off our defense and were able to get it going offensively.”
Adding to Allen’s offensive burst, Kendrick Perry scored 19 points on 6-12 shooting. The junior guard also added seven rebounds.
Still, head coach Jerry Slocum acknowledged Allen’s performance as the difference-maker.
“He was pretty good,” he said. “He really carried us there.”
In all, the Penguins starters scored all but four of the total points. Kamren Belin and Shawn Amiker scored 11, while Damian Eargle added 12.
Slocum said the bench was a non-factor because of the matchup problems posed by the Red Flash (0-3).
“It was just a bad mismatch for guys like [Fletcher Larson] and [Bobby Hain],” he said.
And while Slocum was happy with the starter’s production, he wasn’t entirely happy with YSUs overall performance.
“I didn’t think our intensity was great tonight,” he said. “But I think we have to learn to play at home. It’s a different animal than playing on the road. I think that’s a learning process for this group.”