Freshman guard Darius Quisenberry scored 37 points to lead the Youngstown State men's basketball team to an 81-73 victory on Saturday evening at Beeghly Center.
Quisenberry had the program's first 35-point game by a freshman in 40 years, and the Penguins have won six straight games for the first time since 1997-98. He was 10-of-19 from the field overall, 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and 14-of-16 from the free-throw line.
With the victory, Youngstown State improved to 12-16 overall and 8-7 in the Horizon League. UIC dropped to 14-13 overall and 8-6 in league play.
YSU ended both halves on fire offensively after slugging starts. The Penguins made 14-of-19 to close out the first half, and they made eight of their last 12 attempts in the game.
The last Penguins freshman to score at least 35 points in a game was when Dave Zeigler scored 36 points against Ashland on Jan. 17, 1979. Tim Jackson was the last YSU freshman to score in the thirties when he poured in 31 on Feb. 27, 1988, versus Eastern Kentucky.
The Penguins didn't hit a field goal in the second half until Simmons' runner at the 8:32 mark, but their defense kept them in the game despite starting the half 0-for-13 from the field. The UIC lead never got larger than six, and that allowed time for Quisenberry to rally the offense late.
The freshman point guard from Springfield, Ohio, scored the final seven points of an 11-0 run that put the Penguins up 71-65 with 3:34 remaining, and YSU did not trail again. Donel Catchart started that run with a jumper at the 5:31 mark, and Naz Bohannon's first points of the night cut the margin to 65-64 30 seconds later. Quisenberry then scored in transition to put YSU ahead for the first time in nearly 13 minutes, and he also scored on the next two possessions to push the lead to six.
UIC got within three points three different times, but YSU answered with points or a defensive stop each time to keep the lead. The Flames didn't make a field goal for the final 2:43 of the contest, and the Penguins scored the final five points.
The Flames led 7-0 1:18 into the game, and their lead grew to 19-7 on a Bodwin Boahen free throw at the 11:47 mark. YSU was 3-for-12 from the field at that point, but it made 14 of its next 19 shot to turn that 12-point deficit into as large as a 43-36 lead. The Penguins outscored the Flames 36-17 during that stretch, which ended with back-to-back 3s by Morgan. YSU led 43-38 at halftime.
Youngstown State was 8-for-12 from 3-point range in the first half, and it was 1-for-7 in the second half. The Penguins scored 21 points from the free-throw line in the final 20 minutes.