Penguins prep for three-game road trip

The Youngstown State University men’s basketball team is looking for answers after falling to Cleveland State University at YSU’s Beeghly Center on Saturday, 67-47, in front of the fourth-largest crowd in school history (6,313).

The Penguins (11-9, 6-4) rank fourth in the conference, while the Vikings (18-4, 8-2) have a half-game lead over Valparaiso University for first place. 

In the game, the Penguins shot 30.9 percent and 16.7 beyond the 3-point line. They rank first in the conference in 3-point percentage at 38.1 and fourth in scoring offense with 66.2 points per game. 

Head coach Jerry Slocum said in Saturday’s post-game conference that the loss would not break the season. 

“We are gone from classes for a full week,” Slocum said. “We have a lot of work to do in this league. This is one basketball game that we will put in our rear-view mirror real quick.”

The Penguins face the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Tuesday. The Panthers (14-9, 7-4) rank third in the conference and are coming off a loss to second-place Valparaiso University on Saturday (55-52). 

Junior guard Blake Allen said via text message that the Penguins must remain focused against the Panthers.

“It’s going to be a tough game, and we need to play with a lot of intensity,” Allen said. 

The Panthers have lost three of their last four Horizon League games, including a loss to the Penguins, 68-66, on Jan. 20. 

After Tuesday, the Penguins remain on the road for battles with the University of Illinois at Chicago on Thursday and Loyola University Chicago on Sunday. 

UIC (6-15, 2-9) ranks ninth in the HL, while Loyola (5-16, 0-11) stands alone in last place. The Penguins defeated the UIC Flames on Jan. 5, 68-64 in overtime, and the Loyola Ramblers on Jan. 7, 71-50.