Penguins crowned kings of Beeghly Center

By John Ostapowicz 

The Youngstown State University men’s basketball team dominated 13 teams throughout the 2022-23 season, inside Beeghly Center. Accompanied by two losses, the team’s 13-2 home record ties the Division I school record for most home wins.

The Penguins rounded out their last two home games of the season, Feb. 16 and Feb. 18, against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. 

In both games, Youngstown State toppled the opponents by nearly 30 points. Against the Panthers on Feb. 16, the Penguins controlled their destiny in the battle of the Horizon League. 

The men got off to a hot start early and ended the night by beating Milwaukee, 87-58. Graduate student Adrian Nelson had a momentous game, as he recorded his 1,000th career point and nabbed his 1,000th career rebound.

In response to his historic achievement, Nelson is appreciative of his play-making abilities. 

“It means a lot to me knowing what my God-given abilities are and making sure I excel in those areas,” Nelson.

Nelson continued to shine by slamming down three dunks, to go along with 19 points and eight rebounds. 

The offense showed its star power as three other Penguins scored in double figures. Seniors Dwayne Cohill and Bryce McBride scored 18 and 16 points respectively. Graduate student Malek Green followed suit, with 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. 

Against the Panthers, Cohill recorded his 1,000th career point as a Penguin, becoming the 42nd player in YSU history to reach the milestone. 

Despite shooting 43.8% from the field, the men won by 29 points. However, the Penguins had a competitive edge off of turnovers, going 32-6 off of 17 mistakes by the Panthers.

The men’s basketball team completed its final home game of the season against Green Bay on Feb. 18. The Penguins outscored the Phoenix in the second half by 23 points en route to a 95-65 victory.

Youngstown State honored its six seniors before the game, four of which scored in double figures. McBride and Green shared game-high honors with 17 points each. 

To round out the day, Nelson scored 14 points and Cohill finished with 13. Sixth-year senior Garret Covington recorded seven points and senior Chris Shelton scored three points. 

With the win, head coach Jerrod Calhoun spoke after the game about the graduating class of 2023 and the work they have done for the program. 

“I can’t thank them enough, I think it’s arguably one of the best classes the school has ever had,” Calhoun said. 

As the season draws to a close, the Beeghly Center has been packed this season averaging 2,815 fans per game. In total, 42,226 people have packed the seats at home court to watch the Penguins’ dominant performances. 

“A big part of that is the city, our marketing team and everybody who does their part to make this thing happen,” Calhoun said. 

With hopes of clinching the division, Youngstown State traveled to Moon Township, Pennsylvania on Feb. 21 to face off against Robert Morris University. The Penguins led 36-32 at the half but fell short, 83-64. 

With one game left in the regular season, Youngstown State improves to 22-8 overall and 14-5 in Horizon League play. The men’s basketball team remains in first place within the conference standings, maintaining sole possession of the number one seed.

As of Feb. 22, Youngstown State is ranked eighth in the NCAA offensive scoring standings, averaging 83.1 ppg. 

The men’s basketball team is back in action Feb. 25, for the final regular season game against Indiana University Purdue-University Indianapolis. To watch the game check out ESPN+ or tune in to 570 WKBN.