In a season that has been a struggle no doubt, Youngstown State finally had some things go its way over the weekend.
Against a team that is currently in the top four in the Horizon League standings, YSU (8-8, 4-8 HL) was one shot away from a sweep.
Despite that, this weekend split is more about Garrett Covington and Naz Bohannon than it was about the win and loss.
Let’s talk games first
In game one, the Penguins yet again couldn’t hit a three and missed free throws again. It shot just 3-for-14 from three and only hit 11 of its 19 free throws in a one-point game. Up 66-62, the Penguins couldn’t hit a single free throw. Bohannon missed three of the four attempts YSU had up four and that became the difference.
Off a Teyvion Kirk missed three-point attempt, Michael Diggins grabbed the offensive board and put it in for the 67-66 win for the Flames. A devastating loss for the Penguins trying to get back on track.
No matter, Bohannon bounced back after a tough series against Oakland (6-13, 6-6 HL). He scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Michael Akuchie also contributed 13 points and 11 rebounds.
In the back half of the weekend series, the Penguins found a better rhythm. Despite UIC hitting 42.3 percent of its threes, YSU hit five of its own. The free throw line is where YSU made its biggest difference. The Penguins got 20 compared to the Flames right.
The other big factor was the turnover department. UIC turned it over 19 times to YSU’s eight while scoring 24 points off of them. Bohannon again played well with 23 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Akuchie was also good with another 13 points and nine rebounds as Covington scored 12 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
Daniel Ogoro was the bench star with 19 points on 6-of-13 shooting in the 85-77 win.
History being made
The games were not the main show of the weekend. History was made by both Bohannon and Covington. First it was Covington who scored 12 points and became the 40th player in program history to score 1,000 points.
Bohannon made even bigger history as he became YSU’s all-time rebounding leader in the program with his nine rebounds. He broke a 30-year-old record set by Tim Jackson in 1991. He now has 904 rebounds. The previous record was 899.
The most important parts of both significant events is that they both happened which vindicates the Jerrod Calhoun hiring after a few years. Both of these men along with Michael Akuchie and Devin Morgan we’re part of Calhoun’s first recruiting class.
After what most would consider a failed tenure under Jerry Slocum, the Penguins needed to add talent that would change the course of this program’s history. These two have made it worth it and have shown how right the athletic department was in its choice of Calhoun.
All that said, this season has been rough but that doesn’t diminish how good his first three rebuilding years were and how good this can continue to be.
Calhoun has made the right choice in recruiting and playing for a while. That’s vital to the next few years for this program going forward.
Next on the docket
Now the Penguins host Detroit Mercy (4-8, 3-5 HL). It’s a team that has won three out of its last four games including a huge win on the road at Oakland which is rare in the last few years.
The Penguins will be tasked with stopping the second-highest scoring threat in the conference with Antoine Davis. He’s averaging 20.6 points in 12 games played. Bul Kuol is averaging 15.6 points in 12 games as well. That duo will need to be held in check to pull two wins from this upcoming weekend.