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Heartbreak ending

Correspondent photo / Robert Hayes YSU senior Naz Bohannon snags an offensive rebound during the first half on Friday at Beeghly Center. Bohannon led YSU with a game-high 20 points, but the Penguins fell on a buzzer beater to UIC, 67-66.

YOUNGSTOWN — There are 6.7 seconds remaining on the clock, with Youngstown State up by one.

Teyvion Kirk is taking the ball upcourt for the UIC Flames, and after making contact with YSU redshirt freshman Daniel Ogoro, he shoots.

Air ball — until Michael Diggins taps the miss in with time expiring.

The Flames begin celebrating a 67-66 victory. Penguins senior Naz Bohannon can’t believe it with his arms extended onto his head. A brief review by the officials confirms the call, and UIC goes running into the locker room with joy while YSU walks off the court disappointed.

The Penguins were probably equally disappointed because they led 66-62 with under 40 seconds left, but six consecutive missed free throws, four of which came in the last minute of the game, helped open the door for UIC to burn the Penguins.

Correspondent photo / Robert Hayes YSU redshirt freshman Daniel Ogoro drives and scores during the second half against the Flames, he tallied six, but hauled in seven rebounds for the Penguins.

“Until you’re in those moments, you can shoot all the ones you want, but at the end of the day, it’s about those pressure situations,” YSU coach Jerrod Calhoun said about free throws. “But, it wasn’t just our free throws, we just didn’t close the game out the way it needed to be closed out on both sides of the ball.

“I thought we gave ourselves a chance because we played defense, but a lot of bright spots. I thought Ogoro was terrific tonight. I thought he played very, very good off the bench. Some other guys I thought played pretty well, so it is what is. We got nine left, and we gotta go down fighting.”

Being on the receiving end of a buzzer-beater comes after the Penguins knocked off Wright State two weekends ago on national television when Bohannon found a wide-open Garrett Covington under the basket to wn 74-72.

That also was the last time YSU found the win column, as the Penguins dropped their last four in a row.

YSU led and trailed by as much as seven during the first half, but it went into the intermission with a 31-28 lead. With 6:13 to go in the game, UIC (8-4, 5-2) carried a 60-54 lead, but freshman Shemar Rathan-Mayes and Ogoro each made key baskets to knot the game up at 60.

At the 3:26 mark, Bohannon snagged a Rathan-Mayes miss and put it back up off his left hand to give YSU a 62-60 lead, their first in over nine minutes. Bohannon scored twice more to guide his team to a 66-62 lead.

Despite having a game-high 20 points, Bohannon accounted for five of the six missed trips at the charity line down the stretch. It was the sixth time this season he’s scored at least 20 or more, while averaging 16.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

Ogoro played a season-high 31 minutes while recording six points and hauling in seven rebounds.

Calhoun had a discussion with Ogoro after Thursday’s practice and wants him to play a bigger role moving forward.

“Just challenged him to lead others, to step up and produce,” he said. “It’s about producing when you get in the game, and he kinda knew going into the game that he was going to get a lot of minutes, and I thought he made the most of them.

“And moving forward, he’s going to play a whole bunch, so it’s good to see guys respond.”

UIC went 10-of-29 from beyond the arc for 24.5 percent, but YSU (7-8, 3-8) had issues with 3-pointers, going 3-of-14 from that range.

Senior Michael Akuhie recorded 13 points and 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. Covington scored six, and only needs six more to join teammates Bohannon and Darius Quisenberry in the 1,000-point club.

The Penguins will play UIC again at 5p.m. today as the second part of a doubleheader with the women’s team. The women tip-off against the Flames at 2 p.m.

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