BOWLING GREEN - The Youngstown State men's basketball team used a stellar defensive performance and held off a late rally to knock off Bowling Green, 58-49, on Saturday afternoon at the Stroh Center.
Senior Damian Eargle posted his third double-double of the season with 10 points and 15 rebounds, including 14 on the defensive glass, to lead the Penguins, who improve to 4-4. Bowling Green falls to 3-4.
Senior Blake Allen scored a team-high 15 points - 10 after halftime, including eight consecutive points early in the second half.
The Penguins' pressure defense forced the Falcons into a field-goal percentage of just 31 percent for the game, and outrebounded Bowling Green, 44-34.
YSU scored the first six points of the game and never trailed. The closest Bowling Green got was within one, 10-9, and 12-11, in the first half.
After shooting just 37 percent in the first half, the Penguins were more efficient from the field, connecting on 52.6 percent from the floor. The Penguins made six of their first 11 field goal attempts in the second half.
Layups by Eargle and Kamren Belin extended YSU's six-point halftime edge to a 10-point lead, 27-17, with 18:47 left.
After the Falcons trimmed the lead to six, 30-24, Allen ignited a 10-2 run with eight straight points, including a 3-pointer, a free throw and two jumpers, to give the Penguins a 40-26 lead midway through the second half. DJ Cole's 3-pointer capped the YSU surge.
Bowling Green's Anthony Henderson hit a 3-pointer to get within 11, but junior Josh Chojnacki's layup and 3-pointer extended the Penguins lead to a game-high 16-point advantage, 45-29, with 8:52 to go.
Over the next five minutes, Bowling Green used a 14-4 run of its own to get the deficit back down to six, 49-43, with less than four minutes remaining.
A jumper by Eargle and a free throw Kendrick Perry pushed the YSU lead back to nine, 52-43, with 2:31 to go.
The Penguins, who struggled from the free-throw making just 12-of-26, converted six of their last seven from the charity stripe to seal the victory.
The Penguins return home to host Geneva on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. at the Beeghly Center.