By John Ostapowicz
For the first time since Dec. 21, the Youngstown State University men’s basketball team completed a four-game road stretch. Over the span, new records and season-highs were achieved.
The Penguins secured a road game victory, Jan. 19, defeating the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, 86-70.
With the win, four players scored in double figures en route to an impressive showing from senior Dwayne Cohill, who scored a game-high 26 points. Adding to the offensive effort, graduate student Malek Green posted 17 points along with eight rebounds.
Defensively, graduate student Adrian Nelson recorded his eighth double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The men traveled to Milwaukee on Jan. 21, in hopes of continuing their win streak, but fell short to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 88-75.
The Penguins trailed early in the first half, as the Panthers jumped out to a 12-6 lead, before the Youngstown State offense went on a 10-2 scoring run to lead before the half.
Although the Penguins had the lead heading out of the locker room, Milwaukee battled back and shut down the high-powered offense.
Despite the loss, four Penguins scored in double figures, with senior Brandon Rush leading the attack with 19 points. For the fifth time this season, Green recorded a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
The offense showed signs of resurgence, as Cohill had 16 points and seven rebounds along with Nelson nabbing 13 points in the paint.
Toward the end of the game, freshman John Lovelace Jr. got the Penguins within six but could not facilitate a comeback.
With 12 games left in the season, three teams in the Horizon League are fighting for the coveted one seed.
As the battle for the conference starts to ramp up, head coach Jerrod Calhoun said he knows the importance of the upcoming Horizon League games.
“There are a lot of games left, as good as it is right now, it could go south in a hurry if you’re not preparing or have some humility,” Calhoun said.
With more games underway, Youngstown State improves to 15-6 overall and 7-3 in conference play.
As of Jan. 23, the Youngstown State offense is tied for fifth place with James Madison University in the NCAA standings in total scoring offense, averaging 84.5 points per game, with 21 games played.
In response to what draws the fans to watch the Penguins play, senior Bryce McBride said it’s the team’s high-flying offense and 3-pointers that catches the eye.
“Everybody loves offense, nobody pays attention to defense that much, when you say Youngstown the first that comes to mind is [we’re] averaging 80 something points per game,” McBride said.
The men’s basketball team is back in action Jan. 27, against Oakland University. For the first time this season, the game will be nationally televised on ESPN2 and can be listened to on 570 WKBN.