YSU HOOPS Butler captures tight contest
The Penguins lost, 81-76, to their Horizon opponent.
VINDICATOR STAFF/WIRE REPORT
INDIANAPOLIS -- If Youngstown State and Butler meet next week in the first round of the Horizon League men's basketball tournament, expect a close game.
For the second time this season, the Bulldogs held off YSU, 81-76, this time at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Last month at Beeghly Center, Butler won 67-66 in overtime on a 3-point goal by Bruce Horan.
Horan didn't hit the winning shot Wednesday, but he did make two clutch free throws with 7.8 seconds remaining.
It was Butler's sixth-straight win over the Penguins.
The Penguins (8-18, 4-11 Horizon) are locked into the seventh seed for the conference tournament.
Butler (14-12, 8-7) is a half-game behind Detroit, which plays host to Wisconsin-Green Bay tonight. YSU will play either Butler or Detroit in its first-round tournament game Tuesday.
The Penguins played well, but couldn't find a way to win. They shot 54.2 percent from the field, led by junior Doug Underwood, who finished with 28 points and made 5-of-9 3-point shots.
The difference was at the foul line, where YSU was 17-of-25 and the Bulldogs were 23-of- 28. Butler was 16-of-17 at the line in the second half and made its last 11.
"I didn't know what to tell the team after the game," coach John Robic said.
"We played really well. We did exactly what we wanted to do defensively. We really played smart.
"Doug played great, scored 28 points and really did a job on Horan," Robic said.
Mike Monserez led the Bulldogs with 28 points, five rebounds and seven assists, while Duane Lightfoot added 16 points. Horan finished with nine points, attempting only four shots.
YSU also put two other players in double figures -- senior Adam Baumann scored 17 and freshman Quin Humphrey had 15. The Penguins held a 30-22 edge in rebounds as senior TeJay Anderson had a team-high seven.
YSU's only lead was 13-12 on a 3-pointer by Underwood. Butler led by as many as eight points in the first half and held a 36-30 lead at halftime.
The Penguins' deficit quickly reached 10 points, but they went on an eight-point run, all by Baumann and Underwood, to get to 40-38.
Butler responded with a 13-4 run to take a 53-42 lead with a little more than 10 minutes remaining.
The margin remained in double figures until the final four minutes. Underwood's fifth 3-pointer of the game brought YSU to 77-74 with 8.6 seconds to go.
Horan made two free throws with 7.8 seconds remaining, then Jonathan Mends drove the length of the court to score with two seconds to play. Monserez made two free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining to ice the victory.
YSU plays host to Detroit Saturday at 7:35 p.m. at Beeghly Center in its regular-season finale.