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HORIZON BASKETBALL Penguins hope regular season's final days provide momentum



Published: Wed, February 16, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Youngstown State plays three of its final four games at Beeghly Center.

YOUNGSTOWN -- Youngstown State men's basketball coach John Robic knows how important momentum can be when it comes time for postseason play.

That's why Robic is hoping that his Penguins can get something going in the final four games of regular season before the Horizon League tournament begins March 1.

The Penguins will play three of their final four games at home in the Beeghly Center, beginning tonight when they play host to Horizon League rival Wright State at 7 p.m.

The Penguins (4-19, 2-11 Horizon League) know they can finish no better than last place.

YSU has all four of its victories at home this year where they are 4-8 overall, but they are 0-11 away from Beeghly.

Strong effort

"We definitely want to win these final games," said Robic. "Momentum is big this time of the year. If we play with the same type of effort that we did on our last road trip then I'll feel good about our chances."

The Penguins are coming off two consecutive road game losses at Illinois-Chicago and UW-Milwaukee, but Robic said they were two of the team's best performances of the year.

"It was the best we have ever played at UIC since I've been here," he said of the 71-65 defeat. "We played well at Milwaukee, but they are that much better than we are."

Wright State (11-13, 6-7) has dropped four of its last five games, including a 71-49 loss at Detroit last Thursday. They are only 1-5 on the road in Horizon action.

The Raiders defeated YSU 72-51 Dec. 18 in the league opener.

Who wants it?

"I looked at that tape and we were really bad in that game," said Robic.

"At this time of the year it's not about X and O's, but it's about who wants it the most," he added.

"We just came off a long road trip, we were gone from Wednesday until Sunday night and this is a good time to be back at home," he said.

Following tonight's contest the Penguins will play host to Eastern Michigan at 2 p.m. Saturday as part of ESPN's Bracket Buster Saturday. They then will play host to Butler on Feb. 23 and wind up the season at Detroit on Feb. 26.

"Saturday's game with Eastern Michigan isn't as important as the other three since they are all league games, but we need to win them all to have some momentum going into the tournament," said Robic.




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