Cole's late heroics help Youngstown State survive
Youngstown, OH – D.J. Cole drained a jumper with three seconds remaining that allowed the Youngstown State Penguins to advance to the second round of the Horizon League Tournament with a 62-60 victory over the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers at the Beeghly Center.
Kamren Belin and Blake Allen each scored 15 points, Cole added 13 and Damian Eargle chipped in 10 points to go with seven blocks for Youngstown State (17-14).
Christian Thomas scored 16 points and Jordan Hicks added 12 points while Ben Averkamp (14 points, nine rebounds) narrowly missed a double-double off the bench for Loyola (15-16).
Both teams registered 13 field goals in the first half and went into the locker room tied at 29-29.
The Penguins managed to pull away for a 55-47 lead with just over six minutes remaining but they couldn't put the Ramblers away. Loyola went on a 13-5 run down the stretch and tied the game at 60-60 with 13 seconds left on a pair of free-throws from Devon Turk. Cole then nailed his clutch jumper which proved to be the game-winner when Joe Crisman's 3-point heave was off the mark as time expired.
Youngstown State faces No. 3 seed Wright State in the second round on Friday.