Flashes beat Youngstown State in comeback win

Kali Price

DeAndre Haynes missed the team bus to Youngstown State, but his play on the court was just in time. The senior guard scored 15 points to spark his teammates to a 77-69 win.

The Flashes (3-2) came from behind at the half to beat the Penguins (1-3).

But just like Haynes, the rest of the team didn’t show up until some time after tip-off.

The Flashes started the game slowly with a missed 3-pointer by junior guard Armon Gates, who started in Haynes’ place, but senior Jay Youngblood helped the Flashes take a 2-0 lead 0:45 into the contest.

Haynes started off his night four minutes into the game with the first of his two steals.

But the Flashes lost the lead early after going through a four-minute drought, allowing the Penguins to go on an 8-0 run to take the lead.

“The first half was flat,” Director of Basketball Operations Eric Haut said.

Gates made up for his early missed shot. With 12:27 left in the half, he sunk a 3-pointer, bringing the Flashes within one.

The Flashes didn’t regain a lead again until there was 9:09 left in the first with a lay-up by senior center Nate Gerwig, bringing the score to 11-10. The Flashes managed to hold the lead until four minutes later, when Youngstown State junior guard Derrick Harris made a free throw.

With 3:25 left in the half, senior forward Kevin Warzynski hit his first 3-pointer of the night, but the Flashes trailed by eight at the half with a score of 31-23.

The Flashes ended the half with a 34.8 field goal percentage, hitting only 8 of 23 from the floor.

“(Kent State coach Jim Christian) was definitely upset with the way the guys played in the first half,” Haut said. “He let them know and they came out and responded in the second half.”

The second half started off as slowly as the first for the Flashes, who trailed by 16 with 12:19 left.

Warzynski saved the Flashes with a 3-pointer seconds later, igniting the squad on a 17-2 run.

He ended the night hitting 3 of 5 3-point attempts and totaled 15 points.

With 6:41 left in the game junior guard Quin Humphrey hit his second of two foul shots, tying the game at 51.

Humphrey was the Penguins’ leading scorer, posting a career-high 29 points for the night.

But the Flashes took back the lead 20 seconds later and never looked back.

The Flashes were able to rotate better on defense in the second half, allowing the Penguins to only score 38 points.

“They went to a different lineup and they put four or five guys on the court that could shoot,” Youngstown State coach Jerry Slocum said.

The Flashes appeared to be in rhythm for the rest of the game and didn’t allow the Penguins to take the lead again.

“It wasn’t anything technical,” Haut said. “It was really about our energy level.”

Youngblood, who only had six points at the half, finished the night with 21 points and seven rebounds

Junior guard Omni Smith exploded off the bench in the second half, ending the game with 13 points.

Smith helped the Flashes’ 54-point second half and emerged as a major contributor to the squad.

“Smith fought a lot for us tonight,” Haut said. “He’s my player of game even though he didn’t score the most points.”

Smith didn’t start off the season playing 23 minutes per game like he did last night.

“Coach told me to just keep playing hard and everything else will come,” Smith said. “First playing defense and everything else will come together.”

Contact assistant sports editor Kali Price at [email protected].