Allen Drains Three in Final Seconds to Push Penguins Past Ramblers
Senior guard Blake Allen drained a 3-pointer with 10.3 seconds left and Damian Eargle contested a final shot by Loyola's Jeff White to help Youngstown State pull out a 60-59 win over Loyola on Thursday night at the Beeghly Center.
The Penguins (14-10 overall and 6-5 in the Horizon League) led by 14, but watched as a short-handed Loyola squad battled back in the second half behind a 50-percent shooting effort. Loyola falls to 13-11 overall and 3-8.
The Ramblers kept chipping away throughout the second half before finally overtaking the Penguins at 50-48 on a White basket with 6:20 left. YSU eventually tied the game at 50 on a 16-footer by D.J. Cole with 4:55 remaining.
Thirty-one seconds later Christian Thomas converted two free throws to put the Ramblers in front 52-50 and the Guins had to play catch-up the rest of the night.
Loyola had its biggest lead of four at the 3:42 mark following two more Thomas free throws. Eargle split a pair of free throws and then Kendrick Perry knocked down two to pull within 54-53 at the 2:57 mark.
Thomas pushed the advantage back to three on a dunk after executing a perfect pick-and-roll with 2:04 remaining. DJ Cole had an opportunity to tie, but his 3-pointer with 90 seconds left was in and out and Loyola grabbed the board.
Loyola's Matt O'Leary missed an open 16-footer and Perry was fouled with 1:03 left. He sank both free throws to cut the deficit back to one. White took it to the hoop for a bucket with 31.1 seconds remaining and Perry wasted no time hustling back down the court for a layup.
With 21.1 seconds left, Devon Turk was fouled and made the first before missing the second and Perry snared the rebound.
Perry pushed the ball up the floor quickly and found Allen wide open on the wing. Allen calmly drilled his first 3-pointer of the night to give the Guins the lead at 60-59.
Loyola set up its final play and on a switch, Eargle ended up guarding White. White drove to the hoop, but his shot hit the backboard and front of the rim and rolled off just before time expired.
For the game, YSU shot 42.9 percent making 21-of-49 from the field. Loyola shot 50 percent in the second half and made 5-of-8 from behind the 3-point arc in the second half. For the game, the Ramblers shot 41.5 percent (22-of-53).
In the first half, the Penguins scored seven straight points twice and nine consecutive on another occasion.
Loyola held a 28-second lead early in the game before the Guins went on their first 7-0 run of the half to turn a 4-2 deficit into a 9-4 lead. After the Ramblers snapped the initial scoring run on a basket by Christian Thomas, the Penguins scored the next nine building an 18-6 lead after an old-fashioned three-point play by Allen at the 10:12 mark.
Thomas's free throw snapped the run, but the Guins answered with a Kamren Belin 3-pointer to take a 21-7 lead with 8:14 left in the first half.
Trailing 24-10, the Ramblers scored eight consecutive points to creep within 24-18 at the 4:24 mark, but the Guins responded with seven straight points of their own to forge ahead 31-18 after Cole scored five consecutive points. Belin's 3-pointer in the final minute gave the Guins a 34-20 lead at the break.
YSU scored 10 points off seven Rambler turnovers in the first half. The Guins connected on 14-of-30 shots from the field (46.7 percent) while Loyola made just 8-of-25 (32 percent). YSU's five starters scored 32 of the 34 points in the opening half.
Loyola played the contest without forward Ben Averkamp.
YSU remains at home on Sunday when it plays host to UIC. Tipoff at the Beeghly Center is set for 2:05 p.m.