Despite Loss, Penguins Prove Themselves Against No. 5 Louisville

By Nathanael Hawthorne

The Youngstown State University men’s basketball team traveled to the University of Louisville to take on the Cardinals for the second game of the season. Unfortunately, the Penguins couldn’t pull off an upset win against the high-caliber Louisville team.

The Penguins lost 78-55.

“[Louisville] is a top five, top 10 program of all time,” YSU coach Jerrod Calhoun said. “We knew how good they were gonna be. I told our guys win, lose, or draw we’re gonna get better from it.”

In the first half of the contest, Louisville got on top and stayed there. The Cardinals connected on the first 11 consecutive drives they had and shot 50.8% from the field. YSU didn’t go down without a fight, though. 

Photo by Brian Yauger/The Jambar

As time expired in the first half, sophomore guard Darius Quisenberry drilled a three as the clock ran to zero — giving the team some much needed momentum going into the second half of the game.

Calhoun said he realized the team was excited after that big momentum swing, but he told them to stay the course.

The start of the second half was not generous to the Penguins. Louisville came out of the break hot, scoring on eight of their first 10 tries. 

YSU scored twice in its first 10 attempts. Louisville’s top scorers all had over 15 points with one player putting up 21 points for the Cardinals. 

Despite crushing Thiel College, the Penguins couldn’t get it done in Kentucky. 

Photo by Brian Yauger/The Jambar

For the Penguins offense, Naz Bohannon, Darius Quisenberry and Devin Morgan led the way. Bohannon finished 14 points and eight rebounds. Quisenberry put up 11 points and one rebound. Morgan had 10 points and a pair of rebounds.

As a unit, YSU’s offense was limited in the success it had. The team shot 31.3% from the field and 18.5% from beyond the arc and also had five assists.

“[Louisville’s] staff put a huge emphasis on defense,” Calhoun said. “That’s what bothered us. We only had five assists, and we really struggled to make shots.”

Leading the way for the defense was Jamir Thomas with six defensive rebounds and five offensive rebounds. On Louisville’s opening drive, the Penguins forced a turnover —  one of the four they had all game.

The Penguins out-rebounded Louisville 46 to 38. Nineteen of the 46 rebounds were offensive rebounds. 

“I’m a little disappointed when I look at a box score and see that we gave up 19 offensive rebounds,” Louisville coach Chris Mack said. “That’s just way too many offensive rebounds to give up. … I give Youngstown State a lot of credit.”

Photo by Brian Yauger/The Jambar

Mack also knew going into the game that YSU would be a tough opponent and had high praise for the team as a whole.

“I talked to one of their rival coaches in their league, and he had nothing but good things to say about them,” Mack said. “They returned the majority of their roster. We talked about them being a team that’s very, very tough together group.”

Looking ahead, YSU will hit the road again as they travel to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Nov. 15. Tip off is scheduled for 8 p.m.

After the road trip, the Penguins will return home for a matchup against North Carolina Central University.