In what can become a record-breaking season for Youngstown State University men’s basketball team, it first needed to be able to make a postseason tournament. The Penguins were able to do that by qualifying for The Basketball Classic, formerly the Collegeinsiders.com Tournament.
The Penguins even earned a home game as the TBC transitioned to the NIT style where the better teams host games.
After COVID-19 canceled the tournament the last two years, YSU was able to find its way into the postseason.
YSU won 12 Horizon League games, a program record, while also winning 18 regular season games.
Youngstown State 70, Morgan State 65
The Penguins were locked in the first half of this game as the Bears couldn’t buy a shot from the 3-point line. YSU, on the other hand, was able to hit its shots in that half while playing excellent defense.
The Penguins got out to an extremely hot start with an 11-2 run to start the game. The Bears hit two shots before the under-16 timeout. YSU led 11-6 at that point.
YSU then had a 4-0 run within a couple of minutes after that timeout. YSU extended its lead further as time went on in the game.
Despite slowly building its lead, the Penguins led at halftime by a score of 40-25. The Penguins held Morgan State to zero percent shooting from three in the half.
Dwayne Cohill led the Penguins all game as he scored 15 first-half points while hitting six of his 13 shots from the field. Michael Akuchie helped with eight points and seven rebounds.
Chad Venning led the Bears with nine points with three rebounds.
The second half was a different story for YSU as Morgan State began clawing its way back into the game. With 13:12 remaining in the game, MSU’s Keith McGee slammed home a dunk to cut the Penguins lead to under 10 points for the first time since the Bears trailed 24-15 with over six minutes left in the first half.
The Bears cut the lead even further a few times as the Penguins clung onto a slim 2-point lead at some points.
At 65-63, the Penguins ended the game on a 5-2 run to win the game, 70-65.
Malik Miller led the way for Morgan State with 19 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, four steals and two blocks. Venning chipped in with 13 points and five rebounds. They were the only two to score in double figures for the Bears.
The Penguins were led all game by Cohill as he finished with 28 points on 8-of-18 shooting while hitting nine of his 10 free throws. Akuchie finished with 11 points and eight rebounds in the win.
Cohill’s performance was good enough to win the The Marques Haynes game MVP trophy. This was one of five Legends games in this tournament.
On to the Next
With that win, YSU’s season continues within the “Bracket” of the TBC as it will travel across the country to face the Fresno State Bulldogs. This came about after the original rumor was that the Penguins would play Wofford. Supposedly, Wofford dropped out of the tournament which advanced YSU to the quarterfinals.
The Bulldogs are led by two double scorers with Orlando Robinson. Robinson leads the Bulldogs with 19.5 points per game with 8.1 rebounds. Isaiah Hill averages 10.1 points with three assists per game.
Fresno State comes into this game having lost seven of its last 10 games. It defeated Eastern Washington in the first round, 83-74. In that game, it was Anthony Holland that led the Bulldogs with 18 points and eight rebounds. Leo Colimerio also pitched in with 17 points with nine rebounds.
The Bulldogs boast a 20-13 record with eight Mountain West Conference wins. The Bulldogs have protected its house quite well with 12 home wins while the Penguins have struggled on the road going just 6-7 away from the Beeghly Center.
YSU will go on the road for this game on March 23. The game will start at 10 p.m. on Wednesday.