YOUNGSTOWN - With 15:20 remaining in the game, Kendrick Perry showed some rare emotion on the floor.
The Youngstown State University junior guard just drained a 3-pointer with a hand in his face as the shot clock wound down, and he kept his hands up as he glided back on defense.
"It's exciting," Perry said. "The crowd definitely helps. After our success at home, we definitely got a big crowd out tonight. You just want to put on a good show for them."
Tribune Chronicle / Dave Dermer
Youngstown State senior and Warren G. Harding graduate Damian Eargle looks to the basket after getting around Valparaiso defender Kevin Van Wijk Wednesday in Youngstown.
Putting on a show is exactly what Perry did Wednesday night at the Beeghly Center.
Perry dropped 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season, as YSU beat Valparaiso, 80-68 - sweeping its recent three-game homestand.
The junior was efficient from the field, shooting 66.7 percent and averaging 2.3 points per attempt.
Not only was he efficient, but Perry scored when the Penguins (13-8, 5-3 Horizon League) needed it.
The Crusaders (16-6, 6-2) made a push for another come-from-behind win in league play, pulling to within nine points at the 17:10 mark in the second half. Perry put a stop that with a fade-away jumper with 16:48 remaining and then the 3-pointer two possessions later.
"He's got that point guard mindset sometimes, where he'll give it up where he could take a few more shots," Youngstown State coach Jerry Slocum said. "I just thought he played tremendous tonight."
Perry excelled in a rather physical game.
The Valpo post players weren't afraid to throw their weight around in the post, and the guards gave the Penguins little breathing room all over the floor.
YSU, which won its fourth straight, managed to hang with the Crusaders in the paint during the first half and limited itself to 10 turnovers in the game.
"That's their M.O.," Slocum said. "You have to be tough to be in a game with them because they're going to hit you, bump you, hold you I thought our kids showed a lot of toughness tonight."
Because of the physical nature of the game, Slocum dipped deeper into his bench during the team's previous win over Cleveland State.
Freshmen Bobby Hain, who didn't see any playing time on Saturday, and Ryan Weber played a significant role in the Penguins success versus the Crusaders.
Hain matched up against Valpo's Kevin Van Wijk in the low block and was a big factor in holding the 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward to 14 points. Weber drained a 3-pointer with 11:01 remaining in the second half that gave the Penguins a 16-point lead.
"You got to give it to some guys," Perry said. "Like Bobby, who didn't play in the Cleveland State game, came out tonight and gave us huge minutes. Ryan, who barely plays at all, hit a big shot for us.
"When your number's called, just go out there and contribute some."
On top of slowing down Valpo's big man, Youngstown State kept Ryan Broekhoff from finding his rhythm on offense.
Like the rest of his teammates, the senior forward struggled from the field, posting a 23 percent mark. He totaled 10 points, eight below his season average.
"Going into this game, I thought Broekhoff was the best player in the conference," Slocum said. "I've seen him on film take games over. We really guarded him well tonight."
Despite the big win, Youngstown State has a quick turnaround, heading to Detroit on Friday.
The Penguins will have revenge on their minds, considering the Titans blew out the team in Youngstown by 41 points on Jan. 10.
Slocum said he hopes the team can recover in that short time for another physical matchup.
"We have a one-day turnover to go play another physically hard game," Slocum said. "I hope we got some gas left."