Posts Tagged ‘Vytas Sulskis’

14 Three-Pointers Not Enough As YSU Falls At Penn State

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For the second time this season, the Youngstown State men’s basketball team tied the school single-game record with 14 3-pointers made but could not overcome a slow start and a hot-shooting Penn State team in an 82-71 loss to the Nittany Lions on Wednesday evening at the Bryce Jordan Center.  The Guins fall to 3-1 while Penn State improves to 5-1 overall.

The Guins connected on 14-of-27 from 3-point range, including going 10-of-15 from behind the arc in the second half.  Junior guard Blake Allen led the Guins with 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field and made a career-best seven 3-pointers. Sophomore Kendrick Perry scored 23 points, including 18 points in the second half, and made five 3-pointers. The last time two players scored at least 20 points in the same game was when Vytas Sulskis and Damian Eargle scored 25 and 24 points, respectively, against Malone on Dec. 13, 2010.

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Youngstown State, who shot just 31.3 percent in the first half, trailed by 18, 44-26, at the half, but came out firing making six of their first nine shots of the half to cut the deficit down to 12, 53-41, after Allen drilled a 3-pointer with 14:35 to go.  Three-pointers by Allen, who scored 17 in the second half, and two free throws by Perry brought the Guins within nine, 58-49, with 11:31 to go.

Penn State quickly boosted its lead back to 14 after a 3-pointer by Jermaine Marshall and a tip-in by Ross Travis at the 9:36 mark.  Sophomore Nate Perry converted a four-point play – nailing a 3-pointer and subsequent free throw – to bring the Guins within ten, 68-58.  The Penguins would get within nine points two more times on 3-pointers by Allen with 50 seconds left and 18 seconds to go.

Youngstown State will visit Saint Francis (Pa.), Saturday, Nov. 26, at 2 p.m. in Loretto, Pa.

Jerry Slocum Interview, Part 2: 2011-12

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Imagine for a moment that you owned your own business.  The business never really took off but showed potential from time-to-time over a five year period.  Then one day you come to work to find out all but three of your employees quit.  That is what Jerry Slocum faced about a year ago, when he lost some guys to graduation and had a few leave the program for greener pastures.  Vytas Sulskis, Dan Boudler, and Ashen Ward were the only returning players with any real game experience.  Slocum had to scour the country just to have a full bench.

The new crop of talent, combined with the three remaining “employees”, played very respectably last season, showing steady improvement from the beginning of the season through the end.  The chemistry kicked in and suddenly there was a group of college guys thinking that on any given night, they could play with anyone.  Roll players like DuShawn Brooks, Devonte Maymon, and Josh Chojnacki playing like starters, Damian Eargle who keeps getting better, and perhaps the most talented young backcourt in the entire Horizon League, Kendrick Perry and Blake Allen. Make no mistake, this roster is oozing with talent and Slocum and staff are just the right guys I would want steering this ship.

Paneech: Now that Spring workouts are over and you guys are done until August, how do you feel about next season?

Slocum: This was the best Spring that we had since I got here.  There was great skill development with all of those young guys.  You have to remember that Damian, Blake, Shawn, Josh, K.P — they are all young guys.  You have so many new guys and you can’t just tell them how physical it gets.  They all got a taste of that physicality last season and have responded by hitting the weight room.  Individual efforts have been tremendous, not just average, but tremendous.  Fletcher Larson is really going to help us down low at 6’9″, he is a kid who is skilled in the post.

Paneech: What other things can we expect from new faces next season?

Slocum: All of our guys are going to be here through July 4th through first session.  All of the kids that are signed are going to be coming in the Summer too.  We have a challenge next season because we only have 13 home games and 16 on the road.  How many times has Youngstown State had a tandem where Damian [Eargle] is 6’8″ and two more guys ready to come in at 6’9″?  Cale Zuiker and Fletcher Larson add a dimension to our attack with all of that size.  Shawn Amiker is ready to contribute.  With the addition of D.J., Cale, and our two redshirts in Shawn and Fletcher, this could well be one of our best recruiting classes since we have been at Youngstown State.

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Paneech: What kind of signs have you gotten from the guys that this season can be different in a better way?

Slocum: I came in here last Saturday morning to meet D.J. [Cole] and had a breakfast meeting with him.  After our meeting, I came into Beeghly for a run and I hear a ball bouncing on my way to the workout room, and when I look to the floor, there is Kendrick Perry for an hour and a half  to two hours just shooting the ball, trying to get better.  We have never had that kind of commitment here, and you get that from a freshman.  Ashen Ward has done a great job leading this team through Spring drills.  We are two years late and the program has encountered a couple of hiccups along the way, but we had a great recruiting period and didn’t bring in any junior college kids, which is where you want to be.  At our level, it is better to take a freshman, realize his potential and grow him into the system the way you want to.  This is the first year that we have not recruited a junior college kid.  Nothing against junior college kids, but it is nice to take a kid, realize his potential and work with him to be a big part of the overall system.

Paneech: Talk about the tremendous improvement, especially Damian Eargle and your guards, Blake Allen and Kendrick Perry.

Slocum: I think that K. P. and Damian can grow to be top players in the Horizon League.  We had the best backcourt in the conference with the best turnover to assist ratio with Blake and K.P. the last ten games.  Damian Eargle, over the last ten games, averaged almost a double-double with 15 points and almost ten rebounds a game.  The common factor was that as the year went on, all of our guys got better.  K.P. might be the best two-guard in the conference and Blake Allen works hard and had one of the best turnover to assist ratios in the league.  Damian led the league in blocked shots and is learning how to stay on the floor a little longer.

The third and final installment of the Jerry Slocum interview will hit the site this weekend and is titled How Winning Affects Recruiting.

YSU Women Celebrate Senior Day

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Saturday Bojana “Boki” Dimitrov played her last home game as a Youngstown State Penguin.  The ending was bittersweet for the fiery Serbian because she rolled her ankle, only logged five minutes, and did not score a point in the Penguins victory over Loyola–not quite the way it was planned. Before the game during the shoot around, Dimitrov made her way over to the media table and thanked everyone, just a fraction of the class this kid has.

Penguin Coach Bob Boldon talked about losing his lone senior.  ”She provided a lot of character and perspective.  She lived through a war, an actual war.  So as we complain about gas prices going up and all of our problems, someone who lived through a war keeps things in perspective for us. She genuinely loves to play basketball.  She always played hard and that just carried over because she always practiced hard too which is great for the younger kids to learn from.”

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Brittney Zemko (above) also participated in her last game as a YSU Cheerleader.  Zemko was the lone senior honored of a great cheering squad that is appreciated but seldom written about.  Give credit to these young ladies and men for the hard work and preparation that goes into all of the backflips, pyramids, and chants we often, as fans, take for granted.

Congratulations also go to Vytas Sulskis and Dan Boudler who played in their last games as Penguins.  Sulskis had a fantastic career and did his home country, Lithuania, very proud.  Boudler was a quieter and more reserved guy who did a lot of the dirty work inside during his playing career.  They will both be missed.

Congratulations to all of the seniors on a job well done!

YSU Comeback Bid Falls Short At Valpo

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The Youngstown State men’s basketball team used a furious rally to cut a 19-point second-half deficit to one, but dropped an 80-71 decision to Valparaiso in the first round of the 2011 Horizon League Championship.

The Penguins’ season ends with a 9-21 record while Valparaiso imroves to 22-10 and advances to face Detroit in the second round on Friday, March 4, a 8:30 p.m.

Sophomore Damian Eargle scored a game-high 21 points and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. Eargle also blocked nine shots. Freshman Kendrick Perry scored 16 points with seven rebounds and five assists. Senior Vytas Sulskis and sophomore Blake Allen each scored 11 points.

Sulskis ends his career with 1,311 career points which ranks 16th on the Youngstown State all-time scoring list.

The Guins trailed by 19 points, 65-46 at the 12:21 mark of the second half, but used a 24-6 run over the next 10 minutes to get within one, 71-70 with at the 2:47 mark.

With 3:40 to play and trailing by six, Perry scored five straight points for the Guins – a 3-pointer and a jumper – to bring the Guins within one. 

Brandon Wood hit two clutch jumpers to put Valpo up four, 75-71, and the Crusaders hit five of their last six free throws to seal the game.

Keyed by six points by Eargle and four by Perry, the Guins scored 12 straight points to cut the deficit down to seven points, 65-58, after a jumper DuShawn Brooks with 8:41 to go.

The Crusaders, however, answered with the next four points to regain an 11-point advantage, 69-58, at the 7:50 mark.

Two free throws by Allen, a jumper by Eargle and a 3-pointer by Allen brought the Guins within four before Cory Johnson hit a jumper at the 3:54 mark to give the Crusaders a six-point edge, 71-65.

In a first half that featured nine ties and six lead changes. the Guins shot 50 percent but committed 10 turnovers which led to 15 Crusader points.

The Guins built a 10-point lead, 20-10, after using a 12-2 run midway through the half.

The Crusaders, though, scored the next 12 points to take a 22-20 advantage and held the Guins scoreless for more than four minutes.

After a 3-point play by Allen and a jumper by Eargle, the Guins regained a 25-22 lead at the 7:52 mark.

Perry hit two free throws at the 4:39 mark to give the Guins a 33-32 lead but the Crusaders outscored the Guins, 12-2, to take a 44-35 lead into the lockerroom at halftime.

Youngstown State Bracket Busts Bowling Green, 83-76

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Youngstown State University gets to play in an ESPN Bracket Buster game every year.  A bracket buster is simply a game that allows the selection committee a chance to check out bubble teams against non-league opponents.  Wins and losses pretty much determine the automatic bids and YSU is probably not going to get an at-large bid.  Bowling Green of the MAC was the non-confernce opponent that the Penguins faced on Saturday.  YSU got 23 from Ashen Ward and held off Bowling Green for an 83-76 win.

“The things that the other guys were doing set up my shots”, said Ward, who added six rebounds.  ”It feels really good to do all of the things we had to down the stretch and pick up the win.  To come out on the right side of a close game feels really good for us.”

In the first half, the Falcons and Penguins played pretty evenly with BG holding a 46-43 lead when the horn sounded.  Jordan Crawford had 13 and A’uston Calhoun chipped in with twelve for Bowling Green.  Youngstown State got 12 from Ward and 10 more from Vytas Sulskis. The story in the first half was Bowling Green shooting over 60% from the field and YSU shooting over 40% from three.  Unfortunately, YSU is 0-10 this season when trailing at half.

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In the second half, Youngstown State, on the tenth lead change of the game, went ahead on a Damian Eargle left-handed slam.  The Penguins trailed 58-57 when Sulskis was fouled attempting a three.  The Lituanian-born Sulskis hit two of three charity tosses to put YSU ahead 59-58 with 13:31 left in the game. Torian Oglesby hit a two-handed slam with 9:57 left to put Bowling Green back in front 65-64 but Ward responded for the Penguins with 8:35 left putting YSU ahead 66-65.  Next trip up, Sulskis kicked the ball out to Ward who hit his sixth three of the game and gave the Penguins a 69-65 lead, their largest of the game, with 7:48 left to go.

Kendrick Perry, playing with a finger he jammed at practice, hit a miracle three with the shot clock winding down to increase the Penguins margin to 74-65.  Luke Kraus hit a three for Bowling Green with 4:23 left to stop a 12-0 Penguins run and cut the lead to 74-68.

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Perry had a steal and a dunk to give YSU a 79-68 lead and rile the crowd.  Bowling Green then connected on two quick three-pointers Kraus to cut the big lead down to five at 79-74 with 1:34 left.  BG went into foul mode with 53 seconds left.  Perry and Eargle both missed the front ends of a one-and-one.  With 25.5 seconds left, Blake Allen hit a pair to jack the lead to

With the win, Youngstown State improved to 9-18 and continue to build positive momentum leading up to the Horizon League Tournament in March.  Bowling Green slipped to 12-15 with the loss.

YSU got 23 from Ward, 17 from Sulskis, and 15 from Eargle.  Credit the Penguins for being able to win despite poor free throw shooting down the stretch.

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After the game, Jerry Slocum talked about playing well AND getting a win.  ”Two factors contributed to this win.  One, we played tremendous defense in the second half and our guys did well with our matchup adjustments.  Secondly,we had a 24 assist to six turnover ratio. When you do that good of a job protecting the ball, beating the trap, and finding open guys, you should win.  Our guards had a 13-1 turnover to assist ratio.  Credit our guys for keeping their heads up after three hard losses.”

YSU Basketball Profiles: Vytas Sulskis

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Vytas Sulskis is currently 17th on Youngstown State University’s all-time scoring list.  He will probably move up that list at least one more spot before the senior from Lithuania is finished playing college basketball this season.  Sulskis is an interesting character who said hello to just about everyone who walked by while we were getting ready for this interview, more impressively, he knew all of them by name.  You will not find a friendlier or more outgoing person who has a smile on his face and a zest for life that few can match.

Paneech: What are the biggest cultural differences between Lithuania and the United States?

Sulskis: The biggest difference is the people.  The people in America are more friendly and more willing to help you.  A host family offered their house to me in Florida for two years.  The other difference is food.  People in Lithuania have more home-cooked meals, the wife, or mother, cooks a meal every night.  Here you have so many choices and can eat whatever you want on any night.  You can grab a pizza or anything really.

Paneech: How often do you talk to the family back home?

Sulskis: I try to talk with them at least once a week on Skype.  It is a seven hour time difference and I usually have practice in the afternoon, so usually I try to talk with them on Sunday.  I got my webcam and they have theirs so I show them my room and all that. Usually, I go home once a year for the Summer, but last year I stayed to work out and be better prepared for my senior year.  They will not make it here for Senior Night, but my host family from Florida is going to come.

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Paneech: You are now one of just 32 men to ever score 1,000 points at Youngstown State, you are also jetting up the scoring list and currently sit in the 17 spot.  How do you feel about being in such elite company?

Sulskis: It’s nice to accomplish something that only 32 people ever did before, it’s a nice individual accomplishment.  I think I would rather take a couple of wins instead of moving up the list.

Paneech: You and Dan Boudler have the most history with Coach Slocum, how tough is he to play for?

Sulskis: Coach Slocum is an intense coach.  He demands a lot, but he pushes people to be their best.  Off the court, he is a really good guy.  Some people walked away from this program because they thought they were going to average 20 points per game. They had one vision and Coach Slocum had other visions and stuck with his system.  We bonded better this year, and we are losing, but we are playing much better and losing closer games.  We still work hard for coach everyday in practice and no one is quitting on this season.

Paneech: You are quite active on Twitter.  How did you start with it, how many followers do you have, and are you addicted?

Sulskis: A couple of years ago when it started, I figured I would try it out and just follow rich and famous people.  Then more and more people joined and I stayed active and it is now pretty fun to go on there and mess with my teammates and give them a hard time after something funny happens.  I have 150 followers, I think?  (Laughs).  The internet is huge.

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Paneech: How close are you with Dan Boudler and Ashen Ward being the only holdovers from last year that played?

Sulskis: We are really close.  Dan and I have been together since our freshman year, we were roommates.  Dan is a chill, low-key kind of guy and I am more talkative and outgoing.  Ash is a great guy and we try to hang out as much as possible and have some fun on the weekends.  Damian [Eargle] is my roommate now, he is a lot like me in the sense that he is funny and also very outgoing.  We have spent a lot of time getting to know each other and he is a really funny guy.

Paneech: How are the new guys?

Sulskis: They are a very talented bunch of players.  I don’t think we have ever had this talented of a group.  They are all really good guys too.  Kendrick Perry is from Florida, so we have something in common and we know some of the same people.  All of the other guys who transferred in from junior colleges are really cool guys too and we enjoy being around each other.

Paneech: What happens to Vytas Sulskis when this basketball season ends?

Sulskis: Well, I am trying to get my degree in Management Information Systems finished by June.  When I am done, I would like to go play basketball professionally in Europe somewhere.  I chose my major because I really liked law, but if I would have studied law here, the laws in Lithuania are very different.  I took a liking to programs that help run businesses more efficiently, so I went towards business, hoping maybe I could do something with sports management.  I know three languages and that can’t hurt me.  I am going to go back to Europe either way.

Paneech: Other than basketball, what has been your most rewarding experience in the United States?

Sulskis: I have been fortunate to meet some really good people.  I know they say that Youngstown is a bad place, but it is not a bad place. I have a lot of friends on campus, I will always remember the people from here.

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One Word Answers

Favorite Fast Food Meal: The $5 Beefy Crunchwrap Box at Taco Bell.

One Word To Describe Coach Slocum: Intense.

Favorite Team To Play Against: UIC, I usually do well against them.

Favorite Toppings On A Pizza: Pineapple and Ham.

Favorite Beverage: Water.

Favorite NBA Player(s): Arvydas Sabonis and Manu Ginobili.

Song People Wouldn’t Expect To Be on Your ipod: A lot of techno.

Favorite TV Show: Jersey Shore.

Favorite Fruit: Grapes.

Animal at The Zoo That Is Most Like You: Big furry lion.

Sulskis Ties Career-High With 26, But Wright State Gets By 74-70

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Senior Vytas Sulskis (above) tied a career scoring high with 26 points but the Youngstown State men’s basketball team dropped a hard-fought decision to Wright State, 74-70, on Monday evening at the Nutter Center.

Sulskis, who scored 20 points in the first half, made his first nine field goals and six 3-point attempts while freshman Kendrick Perry scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half and dished out seven assists.

The Guins also made 11 3-pointers and shot 42.3 percent from behind the arc. It marked the sixth time this season the Guins made at least 10 3-pointers in a contest.  The Penuins, who shot 52.1 percent from the field fall to 8-16 overall and 2-12 in the Horizion League while Wright State improves to 17-9 overall and 8-4 in the league.

In a game that featured 15 ties and 16 lead changes and a lead of no more than five points by either team, Wright State’s Cole Darling converted two free throws with 1:18 to go to give the Raiders a 69-68 lead for the games final lead change.  WSU’s N’Gai Evans’ steal and layup gave the Raiders a 71-68 lead with 1:01 to go.

Perry brought the Penguins within one, 71-70, with a at jumper with 37 seconds remaining, but Evans added two more charity tosses to extend the lead back to three points, 73-70,, with 17 seconds to go.  Junior Ashen Ward’s game-tying 3-point attempt with 12 seconds left was off the mark and the Raiders’ Matt Vest made one of two free throws for the final score of the game, 74-70.

The Guins shot a blistering 62.5 percent in the first half but committed 11 turnovers that the Raiders turned into 15 points and the first half had nine ties and six lead changes.  The Raiders’ largest lead was four-points, 11-7 on a 3-pointer by Vest while the Guins’ largest lead was four points at three different times in the first half.

Ward made a jumper at the 7:11 mark to go up 25-21, then made a 3-pointer with 5:00 to go to take a 31-27 advantage and Perry made a layup with 4:05 left to to up 33-29.  The Raiders outscored the Guins, 11-7, to close out the half to take a 40-38 lead at the intermission

Valparaiso Survives Overtime Scare From Youngstown State, 86-78

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Fresh off the heels of a huge victory over Butler, the Youngstown State Penguins welcomed Valparaiso to town for their second monstrous challenge in three days.  Having lost 11 in a row to the Crusaders and Valpo’s Homer Drew breathing down Jerry Slocum’s neck on the active coaches wins list, the Penguins pushed the Crusaders to overtime, but fell 86-78.

“”I am disappointed with 16 turnovers, 12 of them in the second half.  There was a four minute stretch that we didn’t even take a shot and when you are playing the best teams in the league, we can’t afford things like that”, remarked Coach Slocum after the loss.

In the first half, Youngstown State jumped out to as large as a 12 point lead and was ahead 38-33 at intermission.  Damian Eargle picked up a couple of quick fouls and only logged five minutes on the floor, but the Penguins were not needing many offensive rebounds in the half as they shot 53.8% from the floor and even shot over 85% from the free throw line, a recent sore spot.  Kendrick Perry and Ashen Ward had eight points each in the half. Valpo got 11 from Brandon Wood and struggled from the charity stripe shooting 7-18 (38.9%) but stayed in the game thanks in part to an 18-10 rebounding edge.

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In the second half, Valpo tied the game for the first time all night at 43 apiece with 15:06 left in the game.  Eargle was fouled with 14:17 remaining and hit a pair of free throws to give YSU a 47-46 lead.  Perry (above) hit a short runner in the paint with 12:49 left in the game to extend the Penguins lead to 52-47.  YSU pushed the lead to 56-49 on a 20-foot Perry jumper on the baseline with 10:45 left.  Vytas Sulskis nailed a three from the corner to push the Penguins lead to eight, and the home team smelled another upset brewing.

Valpo took a timeout with 9:01 remaining when DuShawn Brooks received a nice feed from Perry to push the lead back up into double digits at 63-53.  However, Wood picked Perry’s pocket and went the length of the court for a layup to pull the Crusaders to 63-59 with 8:18 left.  Eargle picked up a couple of cheap fouls in the span of a minute giving him four with 7:43 left in the game forcing Coach Slocum to sit the shot-blocking specialist.

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With YSU ahead 66-65, Wood hit a three to give the Crusaders a two-point lead.  Another Valpo bucket with 4:52 left in the game gave the Crusader their biggest lead of the night at 70-66.  Sulskis hit one of two free throws with 2:54 left in the game to bring YSU to within two at 70-68.  Dan Boudler was fouled with 1:30 left but could only hit one of two.  Valpo had a 70-69 lead with 1:01 left in the game and the ball when Boudler blocked a shot and got YSU the ball back with 38.4 seconds left in the game.

YSU had chances in the last 38 seconds.  Perry lost his dribble and fell, but the Penguins managed to tie the ball up to keep possession thanks to the arrow pointing toward the Youngstown State bench.  With 11.3 seconds left in the game YSU got Sulskis a 1o-foot baseline jumper that spun around the rim but wouldn’t fall.  Ryan Broekhoff was fouled and hit one of two to push the lead to 71-69 with 6 seconds left.  Kendrick Perry got the inbound, dribbled the length of the floor and hit a 15-footer thanks to a friendly roll to force overtime.

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In the extra five minute period, Youngstown State drew first blood when Ward connected on a clutch three to put YSU ahead 74-71 with 3:41 left.  Cory Johnson hit a reverse layup to cut the YSU lead to 74-73.  Sulskis (above) then drew a blocking foul to go to the line where he hit both charity tosses to increase the Penguin lead to three.  Wood was fouled on a drive and got to the line for Valpo where he nailed one of two.  Wit YSU ahead 76-74 with half of the overtime gone, Sulskis threw an errant pass and then fouled out trying to draw a charge.

Broekhoff hit a three to give Valpo a brief 78-76 lead and YSU responded with an Eargle basket to tie the game with 1:27 left in the contest.  Johnson hit a short range shot off of the glass to put Valpo ahead 80-78.  With 50.4 seconds left Broekhoff was fouled but missed both shots.  YSU trailed 82-78 with 18 seconds left.  Perry fired a three that missed the mark and Eargle picked up a quick foul to stop the clock, his fifth.  Wood hit a pair of free throws to put Valpo up six to ice the game.

Youngstown State got 17 points and ten rebounds from Sulskis and 15 points from each Brooks and Perry.  With the loss, Youngstown State dipped to 8-15 and 2-10 in the Horizon League.

A disappointed Vytas Sulskis commented on the crushing loss.  ”They didn’t beat us tonight, we beat ourselves with turnovers.  We played hard, but we have to get better and not give games away.”

Valpo got a great effort from Wood, who finished with 31 big points for the Crusaders who improved to 17-7, and 9-4 in the Horizon League.  Broekhoff hit for 11 points and gathered 14 rebounds for the visiting team.

Youngstown State Upsets Butler In Thriller, 62-60

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Butler comes to town once a year, like Santa Clause.  Youngstown State fans may like Christmas, but this whole Butler thing was turning into a major headache.   The Penguins were not intimidated by history or record and found a way to claw back from an eight-point deficit to put up a dramatic 62-60 win over Butler.

In the first half, Youngstown State did all they could to keep the Bulldog offense to a minimum.  In fact, the Penguins held a first half lead behind a ten-point effort from Damian Eargle.  Butler got nine points in the opening half from Andrew Smith and six from Shelvin Mack, but Youngstown State went into the locker room with a 25-22 lead.

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In the second half, YSU came out and immediately hit a pair of three-point shots to open the lead to 31-22, their biggest lead.  Butler nipped away at the margin, but YSU again built the lead to nine with just over 17 minutes remaining.  At that point, Hahn and Mack started making just about anything they were throwing up from long distance.  An alternation of the two Bulldog shooters produced a 57-52 lead with 4:04 left in the game.

YSU showed life and heart clawing their way back from eight down, capped off when Kendrick Perry hit a big three with 20.9 seconds to go in the game giving YSU a 62-60 lead and driving the crowd of about 3,000 into a mad frenzy.  Eargle was fouled on an inbound with 6.1  seconds left but neither team was in the bonus.  Youngstown State inbounded again and fouled Blake Allen with 2.2 seconds left, allowing the Penguins to have a chance to win this game from the free throw line.  Allen missed the front end of the one-and-one, but Butler threw the rebound away.  Ashen Ward was fouled with 1.6 seconds left in the game and Ward had the chance to ice the game for the upset.  Ward could not connect, but Butler could not get off a quality shot.

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Butler lost their third in a row and fell to 14-9 and 6-5 in the Horizon League.  The Bulldogs got 18 points from Mack and 12 from Matt Howard (above).  The Bulldogs lost valuable ground to Cleveland State in the chase for the Horizon League title.

Youngstown State got a big game from Eargle who finished with 16 points and nine rebounds.  K Perry ended up with 14, and Allen had 11.  Also to be noted, Ashen Ward’s nine points were clutch.  The Penguins improved to 8-14 and 2-10 in the league.

Coach Jerry Slocum commented on Eargle’s performance.  ”All of the guys played great and really showed heart.  Damian [Eargle] had a tremendous game.  He guarded both of their big guys and really showed progress from the beginning of the year when he was getting thrown around.”

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“I am so proud and happy for our kids. We have been in close games all year and in this one we showed some toughness and didn’t buckle.  Butler is the prominent team in this league and they have great talent and a great coach.  It’s one of our biggest wins since I have been here and I really couldn’t be prouder”, remarked Slocum after the upset win.

YSU hosts Valparaiso on Saturday at 7:05.

Youngstown State Falls At UIC, 83-61

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UIC used a strong rebounding effort and converted 85.7 percent of their second-half free throws to defeat the Youngstown State men’s basketball team, 83-61, on Saturday afternoon at the UIC Pavilion.  The Guins were outrebounded by the Flames, 53-26, and UIC made 18-of-21 free throws in the second half to seal its first Horizon League win.

Youngstown State falls to 7-14 overall and 1-10 in the Horizon League while the Flames improve to 6-16 overall and 1-9 in the league.

Sophomore Blake Allen led the Penguins with 14 while senior Vytas Sulskis added 11 points.

Over an eight-minute span in the second half, the Flames turned a tie game, 38-38, at the 16:57 mark into a 17-point advantage, 65-48, with 8:43 to go after a 27-10 run. The Flames converted 13 straight free throws during that span to put the game out of reach.  In the first half, the Guins and Flames battled through two ties and five lead changes before the Flames lead 34-32 at the intermission.

The Guins took a 23-18 lead after a DuShawn Brooks 3-pointer at the 9:50 mark before the Flames scored nine straight points to a take a four-point lead, 27-23.  Junior Ashen Ward drained a 3-pointer at the 6:45 mark to cut the deficit to one, 27-26. 

The Flames again rebuilt a six-point, 32-26, before another 3-pointer by Ward, a jumper by Sulskis and a free throw by Tre Brewer brought the Guins within two, 34-32, at the half. 

The Penguins, who made nine 3-pointers, return home to host Butler, Thursday, Feb. 3. Tipoff is set for 7:05 p.m.