By John Ostapowicz
This past weekend, the Youngstown State University men’s basketball team went toe-to-toe with two of the team’s Horizon League conference opponents at Beeghly Center. In Friday’s game, it lost 61-71 against Indiana University — Purdue University Fort Wayne, giving up 20 points off of 14 turnovers.
The team offensively struggled to protect the ball, committing 14 turnovers in the game, eight coming from the first half. In the second half, the team tried to handle the ball better but still committed six turnovers.
Penguins head coach Jerrod Calhoun said in his post-game press conference that turnovers were a problem and is something to correct.
“You can’t win off of giving up that many turnovers and letting the other team score off of them,” Calhoun said.
Despite the turnovers, there were many bright spots in this game as freshman guard Luke Chicone had a career-high game with 13 points going 5-for-7 from the floor, snagging three rebounds and three assists. Senior guard Tevin Olison also stood out as he finished with 11 points and five rebounds.
In Sunday’s game, Youngstown State faced Cleveland State University in a nail-biter that came down to overtime. The men’s team would come up short, losing 86-80.
As a team, its 3-point percentage overall was 10-of-23 beyond the arc while holding Cleveland State 5-for-22 from deep.
Offensively, the team still struggled to keep control of the ball, committing 16 turnovers. Cleveland State was able to capitalize by scoring 14 points off turnovers.
After the game, Calhoun said that it’s crucial for the team to come out with more intensity and be more mentally focused.
“From Thursday to Saturday, there has been a change of urgency to the program, and we’re not quite there yet,” Calhoun said.
Despite the loss, sophomore guard Shemar Rathan-Mayes had a fantastic game, recording 21 points, a career high. Rathan-Mayes also went 7-of-9 from the floor, 3-of-4 when shooting behind the arc and was a perfect 4-for-4 when shooting from the free-throw line.
Junior guard Dwayne Cohill added to the total by contributing 19 points, and senior guard Tevin Olison put up 15 points to help lead the Penguins into overtime.
In Calhoun’s weekly press conference, he stated that there was a lot of frustration regarding the team and its play style. The team has to play possession to possession in order to bounce back against both Wright State and Northern Kentucky Universities.
“We are playing two of the perennial powers in the Horizon League. It’s a good opportunity to bounce back,” Calhoun said.
The men’s basketball team is back in action tonight against as it looks to get its first home win of 2022. Northern Kentucky is 1-3 in conference play and 5-8 overall.
The Penguins also have another home game Saturday, Jan. 15 against Wright State, another conference opponent. Wright State is 5-1 in conference play and 8-7 overall.