Jerry Slocum launched a good coaching career at Geneva. He won championships and solidified a small legacy as mentor of the Golden Tornadoes in his nine years at the helm. Now in his eighth season at Youngstown State University, Slocum is starting to prosper. On Thursday, his past was mismatched by his present as the Penguins coasted to a 93-50 win.
During a timeout with just over two minutes left in the game, the YSU public address announcer declared that Slocum had just moved into second place on the all-time wins list at YSU.
“I honestly did not know about that”, said Slocum.
The Penguins wasted little time racing out to a double-digit lead before halftime. Blake Allen and Bobby Hain had ten points each in the opening half to propel YSU to a commanding 47-24 lead. More impressively, the Penguins bench logged 29 first half minutes.
“I thought it was great to see our bench get a lot of playing time tonight. They work very hard in practice and Bobby [Hain] is probably the best passer on the team and showed he can play inside or down low. Everyone played well and I liked the business-like approach and unselfish play”, echoed Slocum.
One of the weirder statistics of the game was the fact that YSU only committed one foul in the first half. They also scored twelve points off of Geneva turnovers and 24 points in the paint.
In the second half, Geneva felt the sting of the whole Penguin array. There was a Kendrick Perry breakaway facial dunk. There was a Shawn Amiker slam a couple of minutes later, and Damian Eargle swatting balls away like a Chinese ping-pong medalist.
On one hand, it was nice to see what the Penguins can do when firing on all cylinders, they are a very exciting basketball team when it all clicks. On the other hand, it was a rewarding victory because the bench was able to get so many quality minutes.
At the 12:48 mark of the second, Ryan Weber had back-to-back breakaway steals for dunks to increase the Penguins lead to 74-32. It was at that point of the game that Slocum pulled all of his starters to ensure good health and to keep the reserves active.
In the blowout win, the Penguins got balanced scoring. Hain led the way with 16, Allen added 15, Perry had 11, and Amiker knocked in ten. Eargle had five blocks for the Guins who improved to 5-4 on the season.
Geneva has a great story on their team. Brian Rice, from New Castle, PA, is a 43-year old freshman for the Golden Tornadoes. Rice did 20 years of active military duty and has enrolled at Geneva. He made the basketball team and played very hard, even when the outcome had been determined.
Slocum talked about what it was like playing his past.
“It [Geneva] is a place I love. I was there for nine years. It is a wonderful school and I am glad we could help them a little and have them here.”
The Penguins next game is on Saturday at the Covelli Centre in the first game to be played off campus since 1972. YSU will welcome Hiram to town for the experimental contest. After the Hiram game, YSU heads back to the road after finals and will have to stash their Christmas presents on the bus with games at South Florida on the 18th and Bethune-Cookman on the 21st.