YSU BASKETBALL Penguins play final 2 games
The men are at Butler Wednesday and the women at Detroit on Thursday.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Youngstown State's basketball teams will finish regular season play in the Horizon League this week as final seedings for the league tournament are set.
The men visit Butler Wednesday at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, then the women travel to Detroit Thursday at Calihan Hall. Both games are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
Both teams will conclude regular season play Saturday night in a doubleheader at Beeghly Center. The women play host to Wisconsin-Milwaukee at 5:15 p.m., and the men follow against Detroit at 7:35.
Men will finish seventh
The YSU men are 8-17 overall and 4-10 in Horizon League, and can finish no higher than seventh place in the standings. That means an opening round tournament game on the road next Tuesday. Oddly enough, one of the two teams the Penguins play this week will be their opponent.
Detroit (8-6) is in fifth place in the Horizon League and Butler (7-7) is sixth. If the standings remain that way YSU would travel to Butler in first round.
"Even though we can't improve our standings we are not going to hold anything back this week," said Penguins coach John Robic.
YSU has a two-game losing streak, with setbacks at Wright State (81-61) and Bowling Green (76-64) last week. The Penguins are 1-12 on the road this season.
Lost overtime thriller
Butler (13-12) edged YSU 67-66 in overtime on Jan. 21 at Beeghly Center. Bruce Horan sank a pair of 3-point shots, one to force overtime and the other with 10 seconds remaining in the extra session to win the game.
"They've been in six overtime games this year and one of those was against us that we let get away," Robic said of the Bulldogs.
Butler is 4-2 in overtime games, including Saturday's 64-63 victory over Ohio Saturday in an ESPN Bracket Buster contest.
"We know they're not going to change what they do against us," Robic said.
Robic wants big games this week from the Penguins' top two scorers, senior Adam Baumann and junior Doug Underwood.
"We're going to try and play them [Butler] the same way we played them the first time, hopefully with a different outcome," Robic said.
Women in the cellar
The YSU women (4-21, 2-12) are in last place in the Horizon League, despite earning a paper victory last week, when Detroit forfeited three wins. The Titans used an ineligible player when they defeated the Penguins 62-42 Jan. 3 at Beeghly Center.
Regardless of what happens this week, the Penguins will play Wright State in the Horizon tournament next Tuesday. The Raiders are 3-11 in the league, and two YSU victories could give the Penguins the home-court advantage in that game.
"We know what to expect from Detroit," said YSU coach Tisha Hill. "Both teams play good defense. We didn't provide much offense the first time, but we have improved a lot since then."
Perugini back to form
The Penguins, who took first-place UW-Green Bay to overtime Saturday before falling 69-64, are hoping that junior center Jen Perugini has returned her game to form.
The 6-foot-2 standout had her best game of the year, with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
"She has picked it up and just now is coming around to the Jen Perugini that I heard so much about when I came here," Hill said.
The Penguins will probably be without freshman point guard Kristy Gaudiose, who missed Saturday's game after being involved in an auto accident last week.
"She has strained muscles in her neck and we're hoping to get her back by tournament time," Hill said.