By Jeff Brown
The Youngstown State University basketball team has more size this season across the board then possibly it’s ever had during head coach Jerry Slocum’s era. However, in their opening game of the season against Kent State University, the Penguins were dominated in the paint and on the glass as they fell 79-70 to the Golden Flashes.
The domination on the glass started early for Kent. The Golden Flashes jumped out to 16-7 lead in the first six minutes of the game after grabbing six offensive boards during the stretch.
YSU was out rebounded 53 to 34, with 18 of the boards coming on the offensive end.
“Your just not going to win a quality basketball game against a quality team when you get out rebounded 53 to 34. It’s just as simple as that,” Slocum said.
The Golden Flashes also had their way in the paint throughout the night outscoring the Penguins 38-20 down low, and drew numerous fouls off the drive.
“We just got out worked, they killed us in the paint,” forward Bobby Hain said.
The Penguins have four new starters from last year’s team, with Hain as the only returning starter from last year’s roster. Hain, who is making the transition from center to power forward, led the Penguins with 20 points on the night and in rebounds with seven.
“We have a lot of new guys with this group. Lot of guys being put under fire for the very first time. I thought some of my young guys played well,” Slocum said.
Center Sidney Umude is the only starter, besides Hain, who had previous playing experience with the Penguins. Umude finished with 10 points, but only managed one rebound in 18 minutes.
Junior transfer Matt Donlan nailed back-to-back three pointers with just over five minutes left in the game to bring the Penguins with two, but the Penguins were unable to hold the Golden Flashes offense down the stretch. Donlan finished with 15 points on 5-12 from the field in his first game for the Penguins.
Coach Slocum was upset with the way his team played down the stretch after they had fought their way back into the game.
“I was really disappointed with how we played in the last three minutes. We didn’t execute at all in terms of getting the shots we wanted,” Slocum said. “We executed maybe three possessions out of our last eight. And that reflects me.”
Donlan was a surprise start over the only returning guard from a season ago Cameron Morse. Morse came off the bench to add eight points, but was all over the place on the defensive end recording five steals, with four of them in the first half.