Penguins look for rebound tonight
FAIRBORN — The bus exited BB&T Arena in Northern Kentucky, only a 15-to-20-minute drive north toward downtown Cincinnati.
Not much was said by members of the Youngstown State University men’s basketball team. Many were listening to headphones or ear buds.
It was a time for reflection and regrouping after a 25-point loss at Northern Kentucky.
Friday’s hour-long trip to the Wright State University campus was about focus, concentrating on the ESPN-Plus rebroadcast of the Cleveland State at Wright State game.
Looking at the media screens on the team bus, all you could see was the Raiders dominating the interior during a 75-62 win over the Vikings on Thursday night.
The Penguins (11-8, 4-2 Horizon League) made their way over to the Nutter Center Friday afternoon for some work, honing in on tonight’s game.
There wouldn’t be a guard-oriented team this time around, like YSU faced at Northern Kentucky.
Wright State (16-4, 6-1) has dominated the series with YSU, 47-12. The Penguins have lost the last five meetings.
WSU’s Tanner Holden, a 6-foot-6 guard, had 16 points and nine rebounds against CSU, while Cole Gentry, a 5-10 guard added 14 points.
The crux with the Raiders comes in the inside, two dominant figures in 6-8 junior Loudon Love and 6-9 freshman Grant Basile. Love had 13 points, while Basile had 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks against an up-and-coming CSU team.
If YSU is to split this road trip before coming back to Youngstown early Sunday morning, it’ll have to find ways to keep Love and Basile away from the basket — make them feel uncomfortable shooting mid-range jumpers.
YSU has made a living off of dominating inside the paint, controlling the rebounding advantage and giving its team second and third opportunities each possession. That’s why they’re one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country.
The Penguins must make this Raiders team work, make them earn it every time they go near the basket. Wright State shoots 65.9 percent from the foul line.
The Penguins are a much-improved free-throw shooting team. They have eight players who shoot at least 69 percent from the charity stripe.
YSU has to get to the line and dominate and drive into the paint to be successful.
YSU has its hands full tonight, facing arguably the most talented team in the Horizon League. Coach Scott Nagy has been magnificent in his team’s preparation these last couple of years, getting some of the best players this league has seen.
It would be nice to see the Penguins have a more lively ride back home.