By John Ostapowicz
The Youngstown State University men’s basketball team fell short in its conference opener against Northern Kentucky University, Dec. 1.
The Penguins started out strong, but fell to the Norse, 77-73, in double overtime at Truist Arena in Highland Heights, Kentucky.
Throughout the contest, the lead changed 12 times with 10 ties within the first 39 minutes of play.
Despite the loss, graduate student Malek Green recorded his third double-double of the season with 21 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. Senior Dwayne Cohill also assisted the Penguins offensive push with 21 points.
Youngstown State rounded out its five-game road stretch against Wright State University on Dec. 4. The Penguins defeated the Raiders in thrilling fashion in Dayton, Ohio, 88-77.
The 66th meeting between the two teams did not disappoint as the Youngstown State offense went to work.
Cohill had a career night, putting up 43 points on 16-of-19 shooting from the floor. His dominant performance did not stop there as he nabbed four rebounds, two assists and two steals along with being a perfect 6-for-6 from behind the arc.
In response to his phenomenal night, Cohill felt that he was in the zone and felt that the points were going to fall.
“I just woke up, and was feeling good, feeling like I would have a good game today,” Cohill said
Cohill’s performance propelled him to be named the Horizon League Men’s Basketball Player of the Week on Dec. 5. This marks the second time Cohill earned the honor.
With the win, the Penguins improved to 6-3 for the season, marking the second straight 6-3 start for the Penguins. The victory also marked the fourth win in the last six games against the Raiders.
Head coach Jared Calhoun knew the game against the Raiders would be an exciting matchup with the amount of skilled players Wright State has.
“There is a really good team in a really good program. [Senior Wright State guard] Amari Davis. I know him well and I have a lot of respect for what they do there,” Calhoun said.
As the men’s basketball team returns home, graduate student Adrian Nelson is 13th Horizon League in scoring (13.6 PPG), second in rebounds (9.3 RPG) and sixth in field-goal percentage (.533).
Nelson also reached 800 career rebounds after 11 boards against Western Illinois University on Nov. 26. Cohill is also second in the Horizon League for scoring (17.9 PPG).
The Penguins kick off their three-game home stretch against Westminster College on Dec. 8.
For the Penguins, the goal is to neutralize the Titans offensive attack as three players are averaging 30 points per game.
“We have to do a really good job on our ball pressure and use our length, they are a very skilled team,” Calhoun said.
The men’s basketball team will also be back in action Dec. 11 against Ohio University. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m, the game can be watched on ESPN+ or 570 WKBN.