February 3, 2011

Youngstown State Upsets Butler, 62-60

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO -- Freshman Kendrick Perry capped a 10-0 closing run with a three-point field goal to lift host Youngstown State to a 62-60 victory over Butler at the Beeghly Center on Thursday, Feb. 3.  The loss was Butler’s third straight and dropped the Bulldogs to 14-9 on the season and 6-5 in the Horizon League.

The Bulldogs appeared headed for their 15th win when senior Matt Howard nailed a three-point field goal to give Butler a 60-52 lead with just under four minutes remaining.  But that turned out to be the Bulldogs last points of the evening.

“I thought we had some opportunities, and I thought we passed on some opportunities,” Butler head coach Brad Stevens said of the games’ final four minutes.   “We probably got tentative rather than attacking, and (the Penguins) weren’t.  They were kind of playing free and they made all those shots.”

Junior Ashen Ward started the Youngstown State (8-14, 2-10 HL) comeback with a three-point field goal with 3:27 remaining, and then he hit a two-pointer to cut Butler’s margin to 60-57 with 2:28 left.

Sophomore Damian Eargle made it a one-point game, 60-59, with a short jump shot with 1:16 remaining, and after Butler’s Shelvin Mack missed a three-point attempt with 0:39 left, Perry nailed the game-winner with 0:21 on the clock.

The Bulldogs had a chance to tie the game, but Howard’s shot in the lane with six seconds remaining rolled off the side of the rim.

Butler trailed early in the game, falling behind by seven points in the first half before cutting the margin to three, 25-22, at halftime.  The Penguins quickly stretched that lead to nine with a pair of three-point field goals to open the second half, but the Bulldogs battled back and eventually took a 44-42 lead on a three-point field goal by senior Zach Hahn.

The Bulldogs then used a 13-5 run, fueled by Mack, to take their biggest lead of the game, 57-47, with just over five minutes remaining.  But the Indianapolis squad would only cash one more basket the rest of the way.

Mack led the Bulldogs with 18 points and eight rebounds, scoring 12 of his points after intermission.  Howard finished with 12 points and sophomore Andrew Smith added 11.  Hahn came off the bench to hit three three-point field goals, all in the second half.

Eargle led the Penguins with 16 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots, while Perry finished with 14.  Freshman Blake Allen added 11.

The Bulldogs will have a quick turnaround before concluding their two-game Ohio swing at league-leading Cleveland State on Saturday.  That game is scheduled for a noon start and will be televised on ESPN2.