COLLEGE HOOPS Valpo's height too much for YSU
Valparaiso rolled to an 80-50 victory.
VALPARAISO, Ind. -- For the second straight game, Youngstown State ran up against a big, strong team and couldn't contend with it.
The Penguins (1-3) dropped an 80-50 contest to former Mid-Continent Conference rival Valparaiso Thursday night.
The Crusaders, with a front line of 6-foot-10, 6-9 and 6-8 and a 7-footer off the bench, were just too much for the Penguins to handle.
Coach's view: "We played hard, probably the hardest we've played all year," said YSU coach John Robic.
Adding to the Crusaders' height advantage was their shooting margin with 40.9 percent (27-of-66), including 33.3 percent (9-for-27) on 3-pointers.
YSU shot 37 percent (20-of-54), but was just 17.6 percent (3-of-17) from 3-point range.
"Some players are trying to make shots that just aren't there," added Robic. "That's something that I have to straighten out."
Little offense: The Penguins put just two players in double figures, senior Steven Flores and freshman Doug Underwood, who each scored 12 points and pulled down five rebounds. Sophomore Bill Mallernee added eight points and freshman Jimmy Moore had seven.
The Crusaders (3-2), who won their third straight, trailed only once when YSU senior Ryan Patton opened the game with a 3-point goal.
Valparaiso quickly jumped out to a 14-5 lead.
The Penguins made a game out of it early as they battled back with two buckets by Mallernee that keyed a 8-2 run and cut the 'Valpo' lead to 16-13 with just over 12 minutes remaining in the first half.
The Crusaders went on another 7-0 run for a 12-point lead (27-15) with just over eight minutes remaining, and they led by 17 points (37-20) with 4:25 to go in the half.
Flores sparked a final rally by the Penguins with a pair of baskets, including a 3-pointer with 45 seconds remaining to cut Valparaiso's lead to 11 points (38-27) at halftime.
Senior Rafael Cruz opened the second half with a pair of free throws to get the Penguins to within nine points (38-29), but that was as close as they would get the rest of the game.
Grafs takes over: Raitis Grafs, a 6-11 center, took over for the Crusaders, scoring eight of their next 11 points, and when Lubos Barton scored on a fast break with 14 minutes remaining, the Crusaders were ahead by 20 points (53-33).
Valparaiso was still ahead by 20 points 60-40 with just over nine minutes remaining and extended that to 67-44. The Crusaders put the game away with three straight 3-point goals, including two by junior Tony Falu, as they pulled to a 30-point advantage (76-46).
The Penguins will try to rebound on Saturday with another road game, when they meet another former Mid-Con rival, Chicago State, at 5 p.m. tip-off. The YSU women will play the opening game of the doubleheader against the Cougars beginning at 2 p.m.