YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- Ashen Ward scored a career-high 26 points and Youngstown State defeated Illinois-Chicago 71-69 Thursday night.
Vytas Sulskis put the Penguins (6-6, 1-2 Horizon League) ahead for good on two free throws with 15.7 seconds left. The Flames (5-9, 0-2) had two chances to tie or take the lead in the waning seconds. Robo Kreps, their leading scorer this season, missed on both occasions.
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Blake Allen grabbed the rebound after Kreps' miss with 2.9 seconds left and made a free throw for the final margin. Kreps' final heave fell short.
Ward, whose previous career-high was 14 points, did most of his damage from 3-point territory. He made 7 of 10 from beyond the arc and was 9 of 14 from the field. Sulskis and Dushawn Brooks each added 11 points for Youngstown State.
Paul Carter led Illinois-Chicago with 19 points. Kreps and Darrin Williams each contributed 13 points for the Flames.