Cleveland State learned the hard way that you can't allow a star a chance to steal a game from you as Perry Kendrick tallied nine of his team-high 31 points in the final three minutes to give Youngstown State a 67-66 win at the Beagley Center.
The loss dropped Cleveland State to 2-2 in the Horizon League with both losses on the road while Youngstown State also moved to 2-2 with the win. The Vikings are 10-8 overall while the host Penguins improved to 11-8.
The Vikings, who had a six-point lead over host Youngstown State with 1:34 left on Monday night, saw that lead grabbed away by Kendrick, who gave the Penguins the lead for good with a layup and free throw with 26 seconds left.
With a 63-58 lead on a basket by Anton Grady with 4:56 left evaporated with a 3:22 scoreless stretch before Trey Lewis, who tallied 15 points on five 3-pointers pushed the CSU lead back to four at 66-62 with 1:34 remaining. But that proved to be the last time the Vikings would score as Kendrick hit a pair of free throws and the deciding 3-point play for the Youngstown State win.
In the final 94 seconds, the Vikings, who had 20 turnovers, saw Lewis turn the ball over two times. The first time came with 43 seconds left and Kendrick made CSU pay by hitting two free throws on the next Penguin possession. The second, with CSU holding a 66-64 edge, came with 37 seconds left and led to Kendrick's game winning play.
Cleveland State had two chances to pull out the win but a layup by Grady was off the mark and Bryn Forbes, who led the Vikings with 17 points, missed a desperation shot off an in-bounds play at the buzzer.
The Vikings, who broke out to a 7-0 lead, held a 28-19 edge before Youngstown State rallied behind 19 first half points from Kendrick and took a 35-32 lead and went to the locker room with a 43-37 lead on its home floor.
Cleveland State and Youngstown State exchanged the lead a number of times before the Vikings secured a 56-55 lead it held until the final 3-point play from Kendrick.
Marlin Mason gave the Vikings a third player in double figures with 10 points while YSU had 10 points each from Ryan Weber and Bobby Hain.
The loss snapped a 2-game win streak for the Vikings, who defeated Milwaukee on the road, 77-49 and edged past Detroit 73-63 at home before going to Youngstown State.
The Vikings, 2-0 in league play at home, return to the Wolstein Center at 5:30 p.m. Thursday to host Oakland and continue at home with a 1 p.m. Sunday match up against Wright State.