Winning on the road matters and YSU can’t do it


A frustrating trend continues for the Penguins

It’s time to talk about a pressing matter for the Youngstown State’s men’s basketball program.

This program doesn’t know how to win on the road…. AT ALL.

If a team can’t win on the road, you can’t win at all. It never has worked and never will.

This YSU (4-3, 1-3 Horizon League) team has no clue how to adapt and win on the road. It’s that simple. Despite the fact that everyone has to play consecutive games for every series, the Penguins can’t seem to figure out how to adjust on the road.

Against Cleveland State (4-3, 4-0 HL) on Dec. 26 and 27, the Penguins simply got outplayed by a team it figured to be better than. Clearly that’s not the case.

Despite missing its number one option of Darius Quisenberry with an ankle injury, the Penguins looked lost in both games.

Abysmal game one

In game one on Saturday, YSU lost 87-69. The Vikings shot 55.4 percent to YSU’s 33.3 percent. CSU assisted 20 times on 31 made shots compared to YSU’s 10 assists on 21 made shots. Those things are the difference.

Jerrod Calhoun’s team yet again trailed at halftime but dug a hole too big to escape from. The Penguins got bullied on the block with a 44-24 points in the paint advantage for CSU. Naz Bohannon didn’t score a single point which can’t happen ever but especially when Quisenberry is out. The only two bright spots were freshmen William Dunn and Cheick Traore combining for 17 points and seven rebounds in just 18 combined minutes.

More of the same in game two

It’s well documented that YSU is a second half team and against Northern Kentucky (3-4 1-1 HL), it was better in the second game. That didn’t happen in Cleveland though.

The same things YSU got bullied for in the first contest was again true in the second game. 

The Penguins were outscored in the paint 50-28 by the Vikings in an 81-74 loss.

Youngstown State actually shot much better on Sunday, but not well enough. It shot 43.5 percent from three but didn’t shoot even one full point higher for the entire floor. That’s how a loss becomes a loss.

YSU turned it over 15 times and got run off the floor as CSU had an 18-3 fast break scoring advantage. The worst of it all is the Penguins actually held a 10-point halftime at 40-30. It shot 36.7 percent in the second half to CSU’s 66.7 percent which made the difference.

Covington had a great showing for the first time all year with 24 points on 8-for-17 shooting with three made threes as well as seven rebounds. YSU did everything right on paper to win the game, but you don’t play on paper and that seems to be what this team is hanging its hat on right now.

A team like CSU wasn’t picked to be as good as it’s been so far but that’s why the games are played. YSU is playing well in them either.

Road Woes

In four years under Jerrod Calhoun, the Penguins have a combined 14-38 away record. I’m not sure if any of you are big math people but the math isn’t good. YSU is winning one out of every four times it goes on the road.

Something needs to be done or this program will continue to be a middle of the road team or maybe a little bit higher. Whether Quisenberry is playing or not, this team needs to find a way to win road games and do that fast.

This inability to win road games is slowly hurting this program and it can’t continue to get any worse. The Penguins went 13-3 at home last year and need to be going at least .500 on the road to be one of the best in the conference and to win this conference.

Looking ahead

The Penguins now get its first home series of the use against the winless UW-Green Bay (0-8, 0-4 HL) on Jan. 1 and 2. Both games are at 4 p.m. These seem like easily winnable games but the way this team has been playing, anything could happen.

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