Think back to the year 1997. It was a year to be apart of Penguins basketball. You’re probably thinking “What the hell does that year have to do with anything?”

Well, that was the last time that Youngstown State men’s basketball had a winning record before conference play and then won its first two games in conference play.

No, that isn’t a typo or a joke. As a 23-year-old, it has been nearly my entire lifespan of disappointing results once conference play starts.

I wish so desperately I was joking but I’m not. The late Dan Peters, who coached YSU from 1993-1999, was the last coach to do what has happened to start Horizon League play this year.

In Jerrod Calhoun’s third season, he’s put together a quality basketball team that has great capabilities. 

Oh and here’s a nice nugget for you to digest. The last two YSU coaches to win the first two conference games after a winning non-conference schedule are both disciples in the Bob Huggins tree. Kind of funny how those things happen.

Peters started the 1997-98 season at 8-3. The Penguins won its first two Mid-Continent Conference, now the Summit League, games against NE Illinois and Chicago State.

Led by potential Horizon League first teamer Darius Quisenberry, the Penguins are 9-6 and 2-0 in Horizon League.

Starting with a win over IUPUI (4-11, 0-2 HL), the Penguins defeated the Jaguars, 83-73. Quisenberry led the way with 23 points, six assists and four rebounds. Naz Bohannon also had 18 points and 11 rebounds.

In its second road matchup against UIC (6-9, 1-1), YSU defeated the Flames, 70-64. Quisenberry finished with 20 points, four steals and two assists. Bohannon had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Those two have combined to help put the Penguins on the right path to success.

With matchups at Cleveland State and then hosting both Michigan schools, the Penguins have a chance to start conference play quite well. It all depends on staying consistent in Horizon League play.

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