The Penguins fell way behind early and never recovered in an 83-57 loss at Xavier on Friday night.
CINCINNATI — Jordan Crawford scored 14 points to lead five Xavier players in double-figure scoring in an 83-57 win over Youngstown State in the season opener for both teams on Friday night.
Jason Love and Mark Lyons scored 12 points apiece, Brad Redford 11 and Terrell Holloway 10 for the Musketeers. Love led the team with eight rebounds and Holloway went 2-for-3 from beyond the arc.
“It was great. It was really good to play someone else and have it count,” said Love. “We’re just excited to get it going and to get out there and get after it.”
“ ‘Cheeks’ [Lyons] is one of the fastest guards in the nation. Along with Brad, he gives us an added dimension,” added Love.
Xavier jumped out to a 24-8 lead to start the game, sparked by a pair of 3-pointers from Redford and five points from Crawford.
“It’s almost shocking when he misses,” Xavier coach Chris Mack said of Redford. “It’s almost a carnival act with him. They [his teammates] think you can pretty much chalk it up [when he shoots].” The Musketeers led 48-24 at halftime, and pushed their lead to 31 points with 6:15 remaining on a Lyons layup.
Xavier shot 51.1 percent (23-for-45) from the field in the game compared to just a 32.8 mark (21-for-64) for the Penguins.
Vytas Sulskis led the Penguins with 12 points. Sirlester Martin added 11 points and four rebounds, but was just 5-for-14 from the field.
Ashen Ward added seven points for Youngstown State, while Dan Boudler had a team-high five rebounds.
DeAndre Mays and Vance Cooksey had three assists apiece.
The win was the first as head coach for Mack, who took over after Sean Miller was hired at Arizona.
“I feel like I’ve had many wins at Xavier, whether as a player or as an assistant coach,” said Mack. “It’s not about me.
“It’s good to get game one under our belt,” he added. “Fortunately our guys came out from the get-go and defended like I’ve asked them to in practice.
“In the second half I thought we played the score a little bit. We’ve got to correct that,” added Mack.
Xavier held a 39-31 edge in rebounds. Jamel McLean added seven rebounds for the Musketeers and Kenny Frease, the former Massillon Perry standout, finished with six.
Holloway and Lyons added three assists apiece for Xavier, which committed 16 turnovers to YSU’s 10.
The Penguins were just 1 for 13 on 3-pointers.
After Xavier made it 24-8 on a Crawford dunk with 8:48 remaining in the first half, the Penguins could get no closer than 12 points (26-14) on a Mays layup with 7:42 to go.
The Musketeers then went on a 15-2 run, finished off by a pair of free throws by Redford with 4:27 to go in the half, to make it 41-16.
The Penguins trailed 48-24 at the intermission and 52-30 on a Martin basket with 18:17 to go. But that was as close as Youngstown State could get for the remainder of the game.
The Penguins play host to Hiram on Sunday in the home opener at 4:05 p.m. at Beeghly Center.