By Cameron Stubbs
The Youngstown State University men’s basketball team has been on a tear as of late. Winners of six games in a row, the team was finally taken down by Robert Morris University ending its hot streak.
Recapping the latest wins from last week, starting with Oakland University, Youngstown State rolled right against the Golden Grizzlies as they secured the victory 78-71. This game extended the winning streak to five games.
The team was led by junior Dwayne Cohill with 24 points and senior Tevin Olison, who contributed 19 points.
The bench mob played a big role in this game as freshman guard Luke Chicone was a huge playmaker, dishing seven assists off the bench. Sophomore Myles Hunter also had 12 points off the bench, playing 29 minutes.
A 44.1 shooting percentage as a team, as well as lots of ball movement, with 20 total assists, carried the Penguins past the Golden Grizzlies.
The next game against University of Detroit Mercy was a high scoring one as the Penguins scored 40-plus points in each of the halves, resulting in an 82-69 win.
Senior Michael Akuchie took over the game and scored a career-high 34 points, with 20 of those points coming in the first half.
Cohill and Olison were also major contributors to the winning effort as they posted 16 and 15 points, respectively.
Knocking down the threes is what shot Youngstown State past the 80-point mark, as each starter shot 50% or better from 3-point range.
This win extended the streak to six for Youngstown State. A shot to tie the longest winning streak in program history of seven straight games came on Super Bowl Sunday versus Robert Morris University.
Cohill led Youngstown State in scoring again with 18 points, followed by a season-high 14 points by Hunter, who knocked down two threes.
Olison and Akuchie also scored in double figures with 11 and 12 points. Akuchie also posted a double-double with 11 rebounds.
Being outscored by 10 in the second half was a killer for Youngstown State.
Junior Shemar Rathan-Mayes went down with a knee injury with 5:56 left to play in the first half, but he returned in the second half.
In the post-game conference, head coach Jerrod Calhoun said he felt the injury affected the team as a whole.
“He [Rathan-Mayes] banged knees, and he was not the same. Shemar is not the biggest framed guy, and you start getting nicked up and you start playing so many minutes, that hurt us today down the stretch. He was not the same player today, at all,” Calhoun said.
The game ended 73-68 in Robert Morris University’s favor. YSU’s winning streak was snapped at six games, and the Horizon League season is coming to a fast close.
This loss was a deeply rooted one for Calhoun as he was looking to accomplish what only former head Youngstown State coach Dan Peters had.
“We had a chance today to tie a good friend of mine, coach Peters and that 97-98 team, and fell short by one game of the school’s longest record [for] consecutive wins and I thought about him all day,” Calhoun said. “He was a mentor of mine, and I know he would be proud of this group, how hard they have worked, and trying to change a program and trying to get more fans at games and trying to have winning season, and I guarantee he is looking down on this basketball team and he’s proud of them.”
Today, the Penguins take on the University of Illinois Chicago. Scores and stats from that game will be posted on ysusports.com
The season is still far from over as Youngstown State continues to fight for the playoffs. There is one last home game versus Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis on Saturday, Feb. 19. Following that matchup, two away games remain: one versus Northern Kentucky University and one versus Wright State University.
The streak has been broken, but the war is not over.