NORMAL, IL. (WYTV)-Sophomore Marcus Keene scored a career-high 29 points with five 3-pointers, but the Youngstown State men’s basketball team dropped a hard-fought 85-73 decision in overtime to Illinois State on Saturday afternoon at Redbird Arena.
Keene connected on 10-of-17 shooting from the floor, 5-of-10 from 3-point range and 4-of-4 from the free-throw line to lead the Penguins (4-4). The San Antonio, Texas, native also dished out four assists with four steal.
Seniors DJ Cole and Shawn Amiker added 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Illinois State (3-2) had four players reach double figures led by Bobby Hunter’s 20 points and Deontae Hawkins’ double-double of 18 points and 15 rebounds. DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell scored 18 points while Reggie Lynch had 10 points and seven blocks.
The Penguins, who shot 60 percent(15-of-25) in the second half, trailed by eight at the half, clawed their way back to tie the game and led by as many as seven points before the Redbirds were able to force the extra period.
In overtime tied at 65, each team made their first two baskets and a pair of free throws to keep the game tied, 71-71, with 2:53 left.
ISU’s Paris Lee converted a three-point play to give the Redbirds a 74-71 lead, but Cole driving layup sliced that advantage down to one with 2:13 to go.
Two free-throws and a 3-point play by Akoon-Purcell pushed the lead to six, 79-73, and the Redbirds made their final six free throws to seal the victory.
Trailing 32-24 at the half, Keene led a 9-2 run to open the second half with a 3-pointer and a four-point play to get the Penguins within one 34-33. The Penguins took their first lead since the 14:51 mark of the first half after a Bobby Hain jumper and two free throws, 37-36, with 15:52 left.
After four lead changes and the game’s second tie, Keene and Shaun Stewart hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Penguins a 49-43 lead with 9:44 to go.
A 3-pointer by ISU’s Justin McCloud cut the lead back down to three, but baskets by Hain and Amiker extended the Penguins’ lead to a game-high seven points, 53-46, with just over eight minutes remaining.
Cole’s layup with 2:16 left game the Penguins a 64-60 lead, but a missed front-end of a one-and-one and an ISU offensive rebound led to a 5-0 Redbird run and a 65-64 lead.
With 21.8 seconds left, Cole split a pair of free throws to tie the game, and an Illinois State turnover with 3.4 seconds remaining gave the Penguins a final shot. Keene’s 3-point attempt bounced off the side of the rim.
In the first half, the Redbirds used a big rebounding advantage to stake themselves to an eight-point lead at halftime.
The Penguins shot just 29 percent from the field in the first stanza while the Redbirds hauled down 10 offensive boards that led to 10 second-chance points.
Youngstown State was able to force the Redbirds into 13 first-half miscues that led to 12 points.
Jalon’s Plummer’s 3-pointer with 11:58 to go brought the Penguins with one, 12-11, but the Redbirds answered with five straight to take a 17-11 lead.
Jumpers by Keene and Plummer cut the Redbirds’ lead to two, 19-17, and a pair of free-throws by Amiker made the deficit three, 27-24, with 3:49 left before the half.
Illinois State scored the final five points of the half.
Youngstown State visits Robert Morris, Tuesday, Dec. 2. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. in Moon Township, Pa.
COURTESY: YSU ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT