If Youngstown State is going to make a run in the Horizon League Tournament, which starts Tuesday, they will need to provide a much better effort than they did Saturday at the Nutter Center. Wright State, picked by the “experts” to finish in the basement of the conference, improved their third place standing with a 72-45 conquest of YSU.
“This is a tough way to go into the playoffs.”, said Jerry Slocum. “This was probably our worst effort of the year,”
In the first half, Wright State raced out to an early double-digit lead with the help of 14 Youngstown State turnovers leading to 19 Wright State points. The Penguins could only muster a 30% shooting percentage in the half, while the Raiders shot 61%, resulting in a 39-19 lead for WSU. The Penguins finished the game with 16 turnovers.
Damian Eargle managed to score seven of the Penguins 19 points in the half. The Raiders got nine points from Kurt Hess‘s high school friend, Matt Vest. In fact, Hess, Torrian Pace, and Chris Elkins (below) made the trip to Dayton on Friday. Hess grew up in the area.
In the second half, D. J. Cole penetrated and dumped a feed to Eargle, who snared an easy basket. The hoop made the score 47-28 with a shade over 14 minutes left to play in the game. Four minutes later, the Penguins found themselves down 21, trailing 51-30. Wright State was getting two or three chances each offensive possession with good offensive rebounding.
Kamren Belin hit threes on consecutive possessions to make it 59-38, but Wright State quickly regained control of things, capped by J. T. Yoho‘s bucket in the paint with 3:46 left to make it 64-39.
For YSU, Eargle finished the game with 11 points to lead the team. Allen had 5 with 5 rebounds to lead the team, and Belin ended up with 8 points.
This year’s conference Cinderella, Wright State (19-11, 10-6), got 14 points from Jerran Young and 11 from Vest in the win. As a team, the Raiders compiled 12 steals.
All the Penguins (16-14, 7-9) can do now is focus on Tuesday. They cannot mope or dwell because the next loss means “season over” for the team. It also means the careers of Allen and Eargle will end.
Kendrick Perry shot around with the team during the pregame but was again held out. His status is unchanged and he will be reevaluated again before a decision is made about being in the Penguin lineup on Tuesday
Show support for the Penguins Tuesday and get to the Beeghly Center for their first-round playoff game.