By Marc Weems
With the Youngstown State University men’s basketball team (8-9, 2-2 Horizon League) coming off a big win, YSU would look to do that again. Valparaiso University’s men’s basketball team (12-4, 2-1 HL) have won the last seven meetings between them.
YSU just won an emotional game at Wright State University in which they came back from a 14-point deficit to win on January 7.
Valpo defeated YSU 78-62
For most of the first half, YSU slowed themselves down to stay in the game.
YSU got to within two points when YSU was down 28-26 with 6:14 left in the first half after a Jorden Kaufman jump shot.
From that spot, Valpo went on a 13-4 run to close out the half including four points in the last minute of the first half.
YSU’s Cameron Morse helped keep the pace as he scored a first half high 10 points. Valpo’s Alec Peters also had 10 points in the first half along with 10 rebounds.
Although YSU shot 46 percent overall, they allowed Valpo to shoot 50 percent. Valpo also outscored YSU 22-10 in the paint and added 8 second-chance points.
Valpo led YSU at the half 41-30 at the half.
YSU’s second leading scorer, guard Francisco Santiago, was held to just one point on 0-4 shooting.
“From evaluating the game, I don’t think he [Santiago] had a very good game,” Slocum said. “I don’t think it was necessarily them. I think the issue was more us. He has played at a really high level and I think he just had an off night.”
On a lighter note, Slocum said that freshman guard Jeremiah Ferguson has been quick to catch up to the speed of the game although he’s plays at a different speed than most the team.
“He’s [Ferguson}worked really hard and his performance tonight would warrant some more minutes,” Slocum said.
YSU also only mustered four bench points to Valpo’s 15. The Penguins would have to correct those things to get back into the ball game.
YSU was unable to mount a swift comeback as Valpo began the second half on a 9-4 run which gave them the 50-34 lead with 15:51 left in the game.
“I thought we did pretty good at the defensive end,” Slocum said. “Our offense let us [YSU] down again. We did a good job for the most part of keeping them [Valpo] off the free throw line.”
Slocum also said that he thought that YSU’s free throw was terrible again as the Penguins shoot 10-19 from the line.
After that point, the game only came further apart for YSU. Their poor free throw shooting along with Valpo’s three-point shooting put the Penguins in a bigger hole than they could get out of.
To compound the problem, YSU’s poor three point shooting performance continued as they shot themselves almost out of the building.
YSU’s biggest issue become the boards as Valpo completely took YSU off them. For the game, YSU was outrebounded 46-24 and 14-5 on the offensive glass.
“They were bigger than us,” Slocum said about rebounding. “Our guys battled pretty hard on the glass.”
With 3:33 left in the game, Valpo led 73-54 but that lead was too much to overcome.
That lead never changed and Valpo beat YSU 78-62.
Valpo’s Alec Peters ended the game with 17 points and 15 rebounds. 15 rebounds tied his
career-high, which he has now done four times in his career.
Morse led YSU with 18 points while shooting 50 percent from the field.
Although YSU was outplayed, the Penguins will look to a quick turnaround as they face the
University of Illinois- Chicago on January 14 at 7pm as part of a doubleheader with the women’s