Penguin women win big on the road
By Brian Dzenis
Youngstown State dealt with loss on multiple fronts Friday afternoon.
The men’s basketball team opened Horizon League play with a 78-66 loss to Detroit Mercy, but there were additional troubling developments with the team.
Two hours before tipoff, the team learned it would be without starting forward Naz Bohannon with what head coach Jerrod Calhoun described as “a serious medical concern.”
“In fairness to him and what’s going on, I would be doing him an injustice [discussing his issues] because I don’t have all the answers yet,” Calhoun said. “He’ll have more tests before we leave on our road trip on Tuesday.
“We’ll have to see how it plays out.”
Bohannon averages 6.9 points per game and a team-high 9.2 rebounds per game, making him second in the League in the stat. He’s also the team’s top passer with 3.3 assists per game. Nationally, he’s the third-best offensive rebounder with 4.08 a game. Friday was the first time he didn’t start a game this year and last year, he started 31 of 32 games.
The visiting Titans (4-9, 1-0 HL) had the full complement of players available and took full advantage. Antoine Davis, the son of UDM coach Mike Davis, lit up the Penguins with 27 points. The freshman lived up to his billing as the second-leading scorer in the nation, averaging 26.6 points per game heading into Friday’s contest.
“I’ve only seen one player like him in my time with that size and that’s Steph Curry. People might think I’m crazy for saying that, but I saw him live when we played him at West Virginia,” Calhoun said. “This guy is really good. Antoine Davis is a really, really, really good player.”
The Titan’s freshman started sluggish, but his team pulled ahead when he got hot. YSU (4-10, 0-1) went of a 6-0 run to tie the game at 27-27 before Davis made three three-pointers in two minutes to put UDM’s lead at 29-36 at 4:02 left in the first half.
Detroit Mercy’s lead got as high as 15 points in the second half, before YSU mounted comeback. Donel Cathcart executed a five-point sequence where he made two free throws off a technical foul on UDM’s Harrison Curry and on the ensuing possession, hit a three. A Garrett Covington layup gave YSU a 56-55 lead, but the Penguins’ lead never got any bigger.
“It was the little things — the details — coach said in a timeout to not forget how we cut the lead down and he was talking about defense,” Cathcart said. “That played a big part in this game today.”
Cathcart led the Penguins with 17 points. Garrett Covington and Darius Quisenberry scored 15 and 12 points, respectively. Davis was one of five Titans players in double figures as the visitors shot 50 percent.
Junior point guard Devin Morgan did not play against the Titans in what Calhoun called “a coach’s decision.” The team’s fourth-leading scorer has seen his minutes steadily decline in the last four games. Dropping from 38 minutes against in a Dec. 8 game against Central Michigan to 11 against Ohio State on Dec. 18 to none on Friday.
PLAYING WITH A HEAVY HEART
A former teammate of freshman forward Olamide Pedersen died unexpectedly on Thursday. Swedish point guard Emil Isovic was hospitalized after collapsing on the bench while playing for Division II Hawaii Pacific on Dec. 18. Pedersen, who is from Denmark, played club basketball with Isovic in 2016. Calhoun said the two were good friends.
YSU WOMEN ROUT UDM
The YSU women’s basketball team opened Horizon League play with a 85-59 win against Detroit Mercy on Friday at UDM’s Calihan Hall.
The Penguins (9-3. 1-0 Horizon League) have won the conference opener for the fifth time in six seasons. They have won five of their last six games.
Alison Smolinski made six three-pointers in the first half in a 23-point performance. She is now in fourth place in program history for 3-pointers made with 198.
Mary Dunn matched a career-high in points with 24 while shooting 9 for 11 from the floor. She scored 15 points in the final 20 minutes. Chelsea Olson scored 18 points to go with six assists and six rebounds.
West Branch graduate Melinda Trimmer tied a career-best in assists with nine. She’s had 33 assists to three turnovers in December.
YSU was 13 for 30 from 3-point range while Detroit Mercy was 2 for 19.
Jess Bicknell came off the bench to lead the Titans with 18 points.
The Penguins briefly trailed 5-4 before scoring 18 of the game’s next 20 points to take a 22-7 lead. The margin was at least 13 points for the rest of the game.
YSU shot 52 percent from the floor.