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YSU BASKETBALL Three seniors say goodbye on Senior Night



Published: Wed, February 23, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Penguins will play Butler in their final home game of the season.

YOUNGSTOWN -- The Youngstown State men's basketball team plays its final home game of the season tonight against Butler. Tip-off against the Bulldogs is set for 7 p.m. at the Beeghly Center.

It is Senior Night and three players, Khari McQueen, Brian Radakovich and Billy Clapper, will be recognized. McQueen is a fifth-year senior, Radakovich has played more than 100 games and Clapper has been with the program for three years, including two as a manager.

"Every senior night is special," said YSU coach John Robic. "These kids invest so much time and energy and trust you to come and play here. It's an emotional night for not only the players, but for myself. I may not show it, but they know."

McQueen will graduate in May and Radakovich will graduate in December, Robic said.

"That's probably the thing that I am most proud about," he said.

The Penguins (5-20, 2-12 Horizon League) are coming off a 74-60 victory over Eastern Michigan Saturday. YSU jumped out to a 21-point first-half lead. Derrick Harris scored a career-high 23 points to lead YSU.

"We're playing a lot better right now," said Radakovich. "Everybody's stepped it up in practice. Mentally we've been a lot sharper in practice and we're getting a lot better towards the end of the season.

"I think the last six games, that, even though we might not have won all of them, we put ourselves in a position where we could come out with a win."

Sharp shooters

Butler (11-14, 5-9) also picked up a home win Saturday, beating Valparaiso 72-69. Brandon Polk scored 19 points for the Bulldogs while Avery Sheets added 17.

For the season, Polk leads the team averaging 12.3 points per game. Bruce Horan has made 77-of-188 3-point attempts and as a team, Butler has made 207 3-pointers, an average of 8.3 per contest.

Earlier this season, Butler closed the game on an 11-0 run to beat the Penguins 50-37 on Jan. 29 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Quin Humphrey scored 15 points for YSU, including 11 in the second half. Polk had 14 points for Butler, which tied a season low with four 3-pointers.

"I think it's a possession by possession game with Butler," said Robic. "It's a drag 'em out game. They don't want to push the ball very much. I think when I went back and watched the tape of the last game that we have to play a little bit quicker. We were too slow that game.

"I think at that point we were happy just to be where we were in that game. We didn't score for the last nine minutes and they didn't score a lot either. We have to pick and choose a little bit and be aggressive. It's going to come down to defending and making some open shots."

The Penguins close out the regular season at Detroit Saturday at 4 p.m.




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