YOUNGSTOWN STATE Demoralized YSU seeks relief on road
Penguins have lost nine straight and blew an 8-point lead in final 8 minutes Saturday.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Coming off a devastating loss to Cleveland State on Saturday, the Youngstown State men's basketball team visits Loyola of Chicago on Wednesday night.
The Penguins (3-15, 1-7 Horizon League) led Cleveland State by eight points with eight minutes remaining Saturday, but could not hang on in a 78-77 defeat. Brian Radakovich scored 19 points, Quin Humphrey had 17 and Khari McQueen contributed a career-best 15.
"[The players are] down," said YSU coach John Robic. "You have to keep their spirits up. Hopefully what they've seen over the last two games is that we can play better than we can prior to those two games. We just need to keep doing the things we've been doing in practice and try to sustain that for an entire 40 minutes."
Loyola (5-13, 3-5) has not played since routing UW-Green Bay 80-61 on Jan. 20. In that game, Blake Schilb scored 32 points on 12-of-14 shooting. He was selected the Horizon League player of the week.
Schilb is averaging 16.7 points per game, ranking second in the league. Youngstown State beat the Ramblers 76-68 on Dec. 21 at Beeghly Center. Humphrey had a career-night scoring 26 points for YSU, which has lost nine straight since then.
DaJuan Gouard, who missed the YSU game in December, is averaging 13.4 points for the Ramblers. Majak Kou is averaging 11.2.
"They are playing better," Robic said of Loyola. "They played without one of their best players [Gouard]. He's back playing now and has played the last three games. Schilb is playing very well. They won a big road game at Green Bay. And they are very good at home.
"I think from our players' standpoint that they know they have beaten this team before and hopefully that will carry over on Wednesday."
Robic said the Penguins' losing streak has been disappointing.
"Our record is what it is," he said. "You're supposed to try and win them and that's what we're doing. We are not laying down. At times this year, we are overmatched talent-wise, but that is really no excuse to not perform to your best ability.
"I really do think that these kids are going to play better. They are playing the right way. This would be a very easy time for them to hang their heads and pack it in. But that's evidently shown in their performance on Saturday that they aren't doing that. They want to go out and win the next one and I want to help them do that."
The game, scheduled for 8 p.m., will be broadcast on WNIO-AM (1390).
Youngstown State's opponent in the ESPN Bracket Buster on Feb. 19 will be announced Monday.
The Penguins will next play host to Detroit on Feb. 3.