YOUNGSTOWN - DuShawn Brooks' night exemplified Youngstown State University's performance on Friday at Beeghly?Center.
The senior forward was 1 of 15 from the floor. The Penguins ended the night shooting 22.4 percent.
But it wasn't the offense, which had averaged 78 points in the first two games, that gave the Penguins a 53-49 overtime victory over California-Riverside.
Basketball postgame interviews with coach Slocum and DeShawn Brooks.
"There's a lot more in this game than shooting," YSU coach Jerry Slocum said. "He made free throws. He rebounded. He guarded well. He had a quality night. You look at it and say 1 for 15. Actually, I look at it and say, 'C'mon.' "
As Brooks grabbed his 14th and final rebound off a missed runner by Riverside's leading scorer Phil Martin (15 points), he went to the line and sank both free throws.
"At the beginning of the game, coach came to me and said all I had to do is go out and rebound," Brooks said. "I tried to stay focused on getting the board and doing that.
Tribune Chronicle / John Vargo
Youngstown State forward Damian Eargle eyes the basket from the foul line during the first half Friday night.
"It came out a win today."
YSU?improved to 3-0.
Kendrick Perry, who had 10 points, made 2 of 2 from the line with 26.6 seconds left in overtime to give YSU a 50-49 lead.
With the shot clock off, Riverside (1-2) had one last shot, but was stymied by YSU's defense once again.
After Brooks grabbed the rebound, Highlanders coach Jim Wooldridge, who was jawing with the officials for the better part of the second half, finally had enough.
He amped up his complaining and the officials finally gave him a technical, sending Perry to the line to shoot two. However, before Perry could get there, Wooldridge came out on the floor and kept complaining with some colorful language included. After about a couple minute tirade directed at the officials, he finally left the playing area and headed to the locker room.
Brooks didn't get flustered like Wooldridge. If fact, Brooks enjoyed the ebb and flow of the game.
"I'm not going to lie," Brooks said. "I'm not worried about the shots falling in. Sooner or later, they're going to start falling. I just stay focused and do the things that I can do."
What YSU did was rally after Riverside took a 25-21 lead early in the second half.
YSU didn't stay complacent for long, relying on its half-court pressure defense to kickstart the offense.
Ward hit a 3 with 17:38 remaining to cut the Riverside lead to 25-24 and the Highlanders turned the ball over on the next possession.
Kendrick Perry then stepped back from the free-throw line and canned an 18-foot jump to cut the Riverside lead to 27-26, which was the start of an 8-0 YSU run.
Off a turnover, Allen heaved a half-court pass to a wide-open Ward under the basket as the Penguins jumped ahead 28-27 with 16:36 remaining. Ward led YSU with 15 points.
Then, YSU's multi-faceted trapping defense wreaked havoc with Riverside again as Perry stole the ball near halfcourt and weaved the ball into Allen.
"Coach is always saying we need to mix it up," said Brooks, who helped hold Riverside to 31.3 percent from the floor. "It messes it up on the offensive end for the people we're playing. So, we're kind of used to it because we do it all day in practice.
"It's kind of fun, actually."
Riverside's Kareem Nitolo's runner with 13:43 left ended the YSU run and cut the Penguins' lead to 32-29.
Later in the half, Harrison Gaines' 3 gave the Highlanders a 40-38 lead with 5:25 remaining.
Damian Eargle, who couldn't hit a shot from point-blank range, was fouled and went to the line. Eargle, who had 11 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocked shots, made both shots to give YSU a 42-40 lead with 2 minutes left.
Martin's 16-foot fade away with seconds remaining on the shot clock didn't deter the Riverside player from getting a shot off, seeing it bounce a couple times on the cylinder and in to tie the game at 42 with 1:11 left.
YSU had possession, even three shots and the basket and two offensive rebounds by Brooks. However, Riverside got the ball back and called timeout in front of the YSU bench.
The Highlanders drove baseline as Kevin Bradshaw charged ahead. However, Brooks went up and stuffed Bradshaw, forcing a jump ball with 6 seconds left. Then, the officials noticed during the dead ball the shot clock was at zero, giving YSU possession.
The crafty and quick Perry weaved through the Riverside defense and shot a 25-foot airball - sending the game to overtime.
Eargle, who was 7 of 8 from the line in the second half and in overtime, was instrumental in YSU's win. He made his last six.
"Without those, we don't win the basketball game," Slocum said.
As a team, YSU shot 80 percent in the second half and 75 percent in overtime from the line.
"Obviously, we've been waiting for that for a long time," Slocum said. "We've spent a lot of time over the years on free-throw shooting. We shoot a lot of them every day. Tonight, we came up HUGE off the free-throw line."
YSU travels to Penn State to take on the Nittany Lions on Wednesday. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.