The Penguins once again dug deep for some late-game heroics on Thursday at the Beeghly Center, but this time it was too little too late.
A back and forth contest throughout, the Youngstown State University men’s basketball team lost the lead with 55 seconds remaining and never gained it back, ultimately falling to Valparaiso University, 74-71.
The Crusaders regained the lead with under a minute to go when LaVonte Dority connected on two free throws to give Valpo a 68-67 advantage.
YSU’s Kendrick Perry then missed a 3 on the next possession, as Crusaders center Moussa Gueye made a pair of free throws to push Valpo’s lead to 70-67 with 24.3 seconds remaining.
Still, the Penguins answered with a Ryan Weber free throw before Dority extended the Crusaders advantage to four points on two free throws with just 7.1 seconds left.
Perry didn’t quit though, connecting on a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds remaining to make it 72-71. But two Keith Carter free throws followed by a missed 3-point heave by YSU’s DJ Cole ended the contest.
Dority led all scorers with 27 points on 8 of 12 shooting, while Jubril Adekoye added 13 and Gueye scored 11 for Valpo.
Bobby Hain paced the Penguins with 16 points, Ryan Weber scored 14 and DJ Cole added 11. Perry scored 15 points, but shot only 7 of 16 from the floor and 2 of 8 at the foul line. In all, YSU shot 43 percent from the floor.
The Penguins led 36-27 at the half, but were outscored 47-35 in the final 20 minutes.
With the loss, YSU is now 12-9 on the season, including 3-3 in the Horizon League. Valpo improves to 12-9 overall and 4-2 in the conference.
YSU hosts Wright State University on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. inside the Beeghly Center.