Perry plays, but YSU falls short

VALPARAISO, Ind. – Youngstown State’s Kendrick Perry has sat for the last four games because of a knee injury.

Thursday, he was ruled out by coach Jerry Slocum, who said Perry was on a day-to-day status.

Friday, YSU’s leading scorer and junior guard played during a Horizon League quarterfinal matchup as the sixth-seeded Penguins faced third-seeded Wright State at the Athletics-Recreation Center.

YSU put up a second-half rally, but fell short of the Raiders, 66-59.

YSU (17-15) trailed by as many as 18 points in the second half before closing to within three twice in the final 4 minutes. But the Penguins could get no closer as the Raiders (20-11) won to advance to tonight’s Horizon League Tournament semifinals against second-seeded Detroit.

The Raiders led 37-19 in the opening minutes of the second half, before the Penguins battled back.

First, YSU used a 10-2 run to get the deficit to 39-29 on a driving layup by DJ Cole.

For the first time since 4:30 was left in the first half, YSU crept within single digits at 47-38 on a Kamren Belin 3-pointer with 11:09 left in the game.

The Penguins pulled within six points three times and were finally able to get within four at 56-52 on a driving layup by Perry with 4:04 remaining. YSU then pulled within 56-53 when Damian Eargle split a pair of free throws 28 seconds later. But with 3:15 left Wright State went back on top by 59-53 on a 3-pointer by Reggie Arceneaux.

On YSU’s next possession, Eargle made his first free throw then was able to grab the offensive rebound of his own miss on the second attempt and his putback brought the Penguins back within 59-56.

WSU’s Jerran Young converted a layup to put YSU behind 61-56 with 2:15 remaining. Neither team was able to capitalize on their next possession and Perry pulled the Penguins within 61-57 after splitting a pair of free throws with 49.8 seconds left.

Young converted two free throws with 44 seconds left, but a Perry layup at 35.8 made it 63-59. WSU’s Miles Dixon missed the front end of a one-and-one, but Belin’s long 3-point try hit off the rim and WSU grabbed the rebound. Trailing 64-59, Blake Allen could not connect on a 3-pointer and Joe Bramanti made two free throws with 10.8 seconds left for the final outcome.

In the second half, YSU outscored the Raiders 40-33. The Penguins shot 41.1 percent (23-of-56) from the field in the game. Belin scored 20, Eargle had 13 and Perry added 11.

The Penguins started the contest by scoring the first five and then seven of the first nine points.

After a Belin layup at the 13:17 mark gave the Penguins an 11-7, the offense went through a dry spell that allowed the Raiders to forge ahead for a big lead.

The Penguins scored one point and missed nine straight field-goal attempts over an 8:10 span. During the drought, Wright State went on a 14-1 run to claim a 21-12 advantage. The lone Penguin point came on a free throw by Belin at the 8:59 mark.

Allen ended YSU’s rough shooting stretch with a fast-break layup at the 5:07 mark to cut the deficit to 21-14. But the Raiders’ Reggie Arceneaux drilled a 3-point to push the advantage back up to 10 points.

In the opening half, YSU was 8 of 27 (29.6 percent) from the field and missed on all seven 3-point attempts. The Penguins failed to register and assist and had five turnovers. WSU made 11-of-24 points (45.8 percent), including four consecutive 3-point shots at on juncture. The Raiders also helped themselves by making 7-of-8 free throws.