After a four game recovery from a dislocated knee, junior guard Kendrick Perry warmed up with his fellow Penguins for the second round of the Horizon League tournament against Wright State University on Friday.
Perry’s second half was better than his first; he scored 11 points and none, respectively. His efforts, though, were not enough against the Raiders, losing 66-59 in the second round of the Horizon League tournament.
Wright State advances to the third round on Saturday against the University of Detroit Mercy while the Penguins will head back home.
Perry said his knee held up. His mind caused the problem.
“I think mentally it kind of held me back, attacking wise, in the first half,” he said.
YSU (17-15) head coach Jerry Slocum said after Tuesday’s 62-60 victory over Loyola University Chicago that it was unlikely Perry would return. He changed his mind after Thursday’s practice.
“We prepared Saturday that he would play,” said Raiders’ coach Billy Donlon. “You don’t worry about the things you can’t control. I can’t control if Kendrick Perry plays or not.”
Perry did not start but relieved sophomore guard DJ Cole with 12:28 remaining in the first half. Perry played five minutes, fouled twice and sat the bench again.
The Penguins also trailed WSU (20-11), 33-19, at the half, shooting 29.6 percent from the field and making no 3-pointers on seven attempts.
“It’s hard to play Wright State with their defense,” said senior forward Damian Eargle. “They’re not a very good offensive-scoring team, but their defense leads to their offense basically.”
YSU trailed by 18 points early in the second. The Penguins cut some of the lead but still trailed by 11 with 7:41 remaining. The next four minutes, YSU bolted to a 13-5 scoring run and trailed by three with 3:36 remaining.
The momentum quickly shifted back to the Raiders after sophomore guard Reggie Arceneaux drilled a 3-point shot over Cole.
“We had two wide-open threes and a wide-open back cut layup, and we came out of those three possessions with nothing,” Slocum said. “I thought offensively that was the difference in the game.”
Arceneaux finished with 11 points off the bench while junior guard Miles Dixon, another benchwarmer, scored a team-high 14 points. The Raiders finished with 33 points from their bench players while YSU collected 14. Freshman forward Bobby Hain was the only other bench player to score besides Perry.
Junior forward Kamren Belin finished first on YSU with 20 points. Eargle finished behind him with 13 points. Senior guard Blake Allen struggled from the field, scoring six points and missing all eight of his 3-point attempts.
“We were fortunate to get out of here today with a win,” Donlon said.