Before Thursday’s doubleheader at the Beeghly Center, YSU Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Ron Strollo said a benefit for the fans was that they could “settle into their seats” for both games.
But for the 1,844 fans that showed up, they weren’t as much settled into their seats as they were on the edge of their seats.
In two thrilling games, the Penguins basketball program walked away from the doubleheader unanimously victorious.
YSU guard Blake Allen ended the men’s game in dramatic fashion, as his 3-pointer with 12 seconds remaining gave the Penguins a 60-59 lead over Loyola Chicago, which would eventually prove as the final score.
“When it left my hand, it felt really good,” said Allen, who finished with 10 points. “I was like ‘That’s right on line,’ so if I have the right touch I knew it was going in.”
The game was closer than it should have been for YSU (14-10, 6-5 Horizon), who fumbled a 14 point first half lead.
With 20 seconds remaining, Loyola (13-11, 3-8) led 59-57 after Devon Turks split two free throws. YSUs Kendrick Perry snagged the rebound, took the ball down the court and found Allen for the deciding 3.
“KP [kind of] gets it in that situation and normally he’s able to make a play and get to the basket,” Allen said. “They cut him off and [kind of] helped off of me. So he found me and I was able to knock it down, thank God.”
Perry led the Penguins with 18 points, while Kamren Belin finished with 11.
“I thought we really struggled in the second half, but we did enough to win a basketball game,” head coach Jerry Slocum said.
In the first game, the women played Detroit University to the final seconds before securing a 58-53 victory.
After taking a 56-45 lead with 4:55 remaining, the Penguins went scoreless for 4:52. In that time, the Titans used an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to three with 53.8 seconds left in the game.
Following a Brandi Brown turnover, Detroit had four open 3-point attempts to tie the game.
They missed them all.
Two Monica Touvelle free throws with 3 seconds remaining sealed the YSU win.
“We made a couple shots, combined that with some pretty good defense and got the lead and hung onto it,” said Penguins head coach Bob Boldon. “It looked a little dicey – I’m sure you guys were a little nervous when we started throwing it all over the gym. But we kept our composure.”
In a contest that Boldon termed as “physical” the Penguins were led by their two biggest players. Forward Karen Flagg scored a game-high 17 points, while fellow forward Brown added 12 points and 18 rebounds.
Detroit (12-8, 5-3) was paced by Shareta Brown with 15 points and 10 rebounds, before she fouled out at the 7:08 mark of the second half.
“I don’t think we were ready for the physicality of the game the first couple possesions,” Boldon said. “But I think we kind of turned the tide a bit and said we were gonna compete and get some loose balls.”
With the win, Penguins (16-5, 6-2) move into second place in the Horizon League standings.
“It feels good,” Flagg said. “Hopefully, we’ll try to get first place.”