In the nick of time: Allen’s last-second 3 wins it for YSU

YOUNGSTOWN – Blake Allen couldn’t connect from 3 all night.

For the majority of the second half, neither could the rest of his Youngstown State University teammates – shooting 37 percent. The men’s basketball team struggled against an undermanned Loyola team Thursday at the Beeghly Center.

“The last one is what matters,” said Allen, who had 10 points.

Then, down by two, Allen drained a 3 with 10.3 seconds remaining for a 60-59 victory over the Ramblers – sweeping the season series.

YSU improved to 14-10, 6-5 Horizon League, while Loyola dropped to 13-11, 3-8.

“Typically KP (Kendrick Perry) gets it in that kind of situation, but they cut him off and he found me. I put it down. Thank God,” Allen said. “When it left my hands, it felt really good. It was right on line. I knew if I had the right touch, it was going in.”

Perry led YSU with 18 points, while Kamren Belin added 11.

“We struggled in the second half, but we did enough to win the basketball game,” YSU coach Jerry Slocum said. “The sign of good teams is when you don’t play well and get wins.”

Loyola had a chance to win as Jeff White put up a floater that went in and out in the final second.

YSU senior forward and Warren G. Harding graduate Damian Eargle altered White’s shot.

“I think Dam’s length effected him on the floater at the end of the game,” Allen said.

Loyola rallied from a 34-20 halftime deficit to take the lead midway through the second half. The Ramblers were playing without leading scorer Ben Avercamp, who was out with a concussion. Loyola had seven scholarship players on the bench against YSU. Christian Thomas led Loyola with 19 points, Devon Turk had 17 and Matt O’Leary added 10. All nine players, including the two walk-ons, played for the Ramblers.

“They showed a great amount of intensity and played their hearts out,” Slocum said.

He’s not surprised Loyola, which outrebounded YSU 34-31 and shot 50 percent in the second half, made this game close. But it wasn’t because of the offensive nature of the game.

“I’m watching a game and a football game breaks out,” Slocum said of the entire Horizon League. “That’s just the way this league has been all year. It’s just a physical war. Offensive guys can do whatever they want to do. Rebounds. You better be a man because you’re going to get hammered on the rebound. It’s just the way this league is.

“When it’s that physical, there are going to be close games right until the end.”

Sunday, YSU hosts UIC starting at 2:05 p.m.