By Kyle Wills
The Youngstown State University men’s basketball team began their 2020-2021 season Dec. 9, facing off against Point Park University at Beeghly Center.
In their opener, the Penguins defeated the Point Park Pioneers, 72-52. Freshman Shemar Rathan-Mayes led the team and scored a game-high 17 points in the victory.
The men traveled to Binghamton and YSU took on the Bearcats on Dec. 13. The Penguins trailed early before coming back late to win 79-65. In the win, junior Darius Quisenberry became the 38th player to score 1,000 career points.
YSU then returned home, where they hosted West Virginia Tech on Dec. 14. The Penguins went on to win, 80-66, as they outscored the Bearcats, 43-26, in the second half.
The team traveled to Northern Kentucky University to take on the Norse on Dec. 19-20 and would end up splitting the two games. YSU would lose, 79-64, in the first game before going on to win the second, 70-60.
The Penguins hit the road to take on Cleveland State University on Dec. 26-27. They would end up losing both games as the men fell, 87-69, in the first game and 81-74 in the second.
YSU returned home on New Year’s Day to take on the Green Bay Phoenix on Jan. 1-2. On Jan. 1, senior Naz Bohannon led the Penguins as he had a career-high 32 points in the 84-77 win. They would lose the second game, 79-69.
On Jan. 4, the men faced Carlow University at Beeghly Center. In the game, six Penguins scored double-digit points as YSU won, 109-56.
The Penguins then traveled to Wright State to take on the Raiders on Jan. 8-9. On Jan. 8, YSU would knock off Wright State in a 74-72 buzzer-beater win. Bohannon would find senior Garrett Covington open by the basket as Covington scored the game-winning bucket for YSU. On Jan. 9, YSU fell, 93-55. In the loss, Bohannon joined Quisenberry in scoring 1,000 career points.
When speaking about the win over Wright State, head coach Jerrod Calhoun said he was impressed by the team effort shown.
“I thought Friday we were very resilient. I thought Naz played very, very possessed. I thought a lot of guys stepped up,” he said. “I thought it was a good team effort and I thought we deserved to win. I thought we out-played them for most of the game and sometimes when you do that, things go your way.”
In regard to the matchup against Oakland, Calhoun said he believed his team would face a huge challenge in the Golden Grizzlies.
“Those kids are well tested. You know they’ve played Michigan, Michigan State, Xavier, Oklahoma State. They’ve played everybody in the country. This is a team that’s played a lot of games, more than anybody in the league, and they are very, very good at home year in and year out.”
YSU took on the Golden Grizzlies at Oakland on Jan. 15-16. The men lost both games with the scores 82-65 and 81-74. Freshman Myles Hunter scored a career-high 18 points in both games.
This past weekend, the Penguins were back home at the Beeghly Center to take on UIC on Friday and Saturday. On Friday, the men were defeated by the UIC Flames in a tough loss, 67-66. They managed to turn their weekend around as they defeated UIC on Saturday, 85-77.
The YSU men’s basketball team will enter this weekend with an 8-8 record. The Penguins will face Detroit Mercy on Friday and Saturday at the Beeghly Center.