Shooting key to tonight's game against Detroit
Youngstown State is playing host to its first Horizon postseason contest.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the keys to tonight's Horizon League men's basketball tournament opener between Youngstown State and Detroit at Beeghly Center.
"Both teams have struggled offensively off and on this season," said YSU coach Jerry Slocum. "When they [Detroit] shoot the ball well they usually win and when we shoot the ball well we usually win."
Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m.
The Penguins (13-16) are the tournament's No. 5 seed and are playing host to their first Horizon postseason contest. In five seasons the Penguins are just 1-5 in the Horizon tournament.
Slocum, who posted his 600th career victory last Thursday over No. 1 seed Wright State, said the Penguins earning a home game shows the progress and growth of the program.
"Are we satisfied with our position? Yes, we are," he said. "Are we where we want to be in the league? No, we are not."
The Penguins are coming off a disappointing 68-55 loss at Cleveland State Saturday, which cost them fourth seed.
Roberts was injured
Not only did the Penguins lose the game, but the team's second-leading scorer, senior Keston Roberts, suffered a bruised thigh and sat out the entire second half.
It's not certain if Roberts will be ready to go against the Titans (11-18), the No. 8 seed.
The Penguins split their two regular season games with Detroit, losing 66-51 on the road and winning 82-70 at Beeghly Center.
The Titans shot 55.6 percent from the field, including 61.3 percent on 3-pointers, in their win. In its win YSU shot 53.6 percent from the field. Senior Quin Humphrey scored 36 points on 12-of-18 shooting and he made eight 3-point goals.
Humphrey, who was named to the All-Horizon League first team Tuesday for the second straight year, had only eight points in Saturday's loss to Cleveland State.
The Ellenwood, Ga., native captured the Horizon League individual scoring title for the second straight year, averaging 19.7 points per game during the 16 league contests. His season average is 19.1.
YSU 2-for-3 at Beeghly
The Penguins and Titans have not met in the Horizon tournament and Detroit leads the all-time series 17-3. YSU, however, has won two of the last three meetings at Beeghly Center.
The Titans also lost their regular season finale, 56-36 at Butler Saturday.
Detroit's top scorer is Brandon Cotton (17.6), while senior center Ryvon Coville led the conference in rebounding (10.6) and averages 13.9 points per game.
The Penguins' only win in the Horizon tournament was a 65-61 victory at UW-Green Bay March 4, 2003.
YSU is 8-17 all-time in the postseason and last played host in 1995 as a member of the Mid-Continent Conference. The Penguins defeated Troy State 90-83.
YSU also played host to a tournament game in 1986, losing to Tennessee Tech 71-68 in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament.
The winner of tonight's game will play either UW-Green Bay or Cleveland State in the quarterfinals at the Nutter Center in Dayton.