The No. 25 West Virginia Mountaineers used strong defense late in regulation to fend off the Youngstown State Penguins, 75-64, on Saturday in Youngstown, Ohio.
West Virginia (10-1) was locked in a tight game midway through the second half, but its defense consistently thwarted every Youngstown State (7-6) rally on a day when the Penguins hosted a Power Five conference opponent for the only time this decade.
Youngstown State took a 38-35 lead to the locker room at halftime and scored the first four points of the second half to get a 42-35 advantage with 18:03 left in regulation. Then the Mountaineers responded. They allowed only one made field goal over the next 6:20. West Virginia allowed just six points in those six-plus minutes and grabbed a 52-48 lead with 12:21 remaining.
The game remained a contentious battle of two rugged defenses, but West Virginia’s defense was better down the stretch.
With 7:38 left, West Virginia was clinging to a 58-56 lead. This began another extended sequence of game play in which Youngstown State wasn’t able to hit from the field.
The Penguins were smothered by the Mountaineers’ perimeter defense. They hit just one field goal in that final span of seven and a half minutes. WVU built its lead to 65-57 with 5:11 left. Youngstown State made a small rally to pull within three, at 67-64, with 2:14 left, but the Penguins didn’t score for the remainder of the game. Youngstown State finished 7 of 25 from 3-point range, just 28 percent. YSU hit 36.4 percent of its field goal attempts, going 20 for 55.
West Virginia’s Oscar Tshiebwe scored and was fouled with 1:35 left. He completed the old-fashioned 3-point play to give the Mountaineers a 70-64 cushion that they preserved in the final 90 seconds.
Tshiebwe led West Virginia with 19 points. Four other Mountaineers scored in double figures.
Darius Quisenberry led Youngstown State with 22 points.
–Field Level Media