By Marissa Masano
The Youngstown State University men’s basketball team traveled to Dayton and Fort Wayne, Indiana to compete in two Horizon League matchups on the road.
The Penguins traveled to Wright State University on Feb. 1 for a nationally-televised contest on ESPNU. YSU won the game, 88-77, and improved to 17-6 overall and 9-3 in the Horizon League.
Five Penguins found themselves in double figures. Fifth-year senior DJ Burns recorded his 13th double-double of the season, with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Senior Bryson Langdon tied a career-high five 3-pointers and posted 17 points. Fifth-year seniors Ziggy Reid and Brett Thompson recorded 14 points. Fifth-year senior Brandon Rush added 10 points.
YSU led in rebounds against Wright State, 38-26. Alongside Burns’s 12 rebounds, sophomore Imanuel Zorgvol was another leader on the defense with seven rebounds and six defensive boards.
The game saw 15 ties and 16 lead changes, but Youngstown State held the lead for 23 minutes and 37 seconds throughout the contest.
Wright State held a one-point advantage over the Penguins heading into halftime. Throughout the second half, the Raiders only led for a minute and five seconds, with their largest point lead being two points.
With 16 minutes left, the Penguin offensive took control. The team never trailed again as it went on a 13-4 scoring run, resulting in a 12-point Penguin lead.
The Penguins stayed on the road and were defeated by Purdue University Fort Wayne, 82-78, on Feb. 4. The loss capped the Penguins’ win streak at four games, bringing them to 17-7 overall in the season and 9-4 in Horizon League play.
Burns posted his sixth straight double-double with 15 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. With 14 double-doubles this season, the forward ranks fourth in the NCAA for double-doubles as of Feb. 5.
Junior EJ Farmer led the scoring effort against Fort Wayne with a team-high 19 points. Rush had 14 points, and Reid added 12 points.
The Penguins began the game’s scoring in the first half and led for nearly 13 minutes, but went into halftime with only a three-point advantage.
The Mastodons opened the second half, scoring 16 of the first 21 points and gaining an eight-point lead.
Within a span of four minutes, the Penguins failed to score and Fort Wayne went on a 12-2 scoring run. This extended Fort Wayne’s lead to a game-high 14 points with 11 minutes remaining.
For head coach Jerrod Calhoun, the Mastodons ability to score in the second half came from a lack of Penguin’s offense.
“We had 13 turnovers. They scored 20 points off of our turnovers,” Calhoun said. “To me the best defense is a good offense. If you score the ball, you can set your defense up.”
Farmer led an offensive response by the Penguins, delivering a 12-2 run to cut the deficit to four with 7:32 minutes remaining.
The teams went back and forth, but Youngstown State’s comeback efforts stalled as the ‘Guins couldn’t get within four points of the Mastodons.
In the second half, the Penguins’ biggest lead was one point.
YSU will return home to Beeghly Center on Feb. 8 to play the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. The game is the start of a three-game homestand for the Penguins.