Ready for redemption
At Wright State University on Saturday, there was a men’s basketball team wearing red Nikes and red uniforms with the word “Penguins” across their chests.
The team, which got smacked by the Raiders with a score of 72-45, appeared to be the Youngstown State University men’s squad.
It was. However, Penguins guard DJ Cole said it wasn’t them at all.
“That wasn’t us, the way we played them last week,” he said.
On Friday at 6 p.m., Cole and the Penguins will get another chance to show WSU their true colors. After defeating Loyola University Chicago, 62-60, on Tuesday in the first round of the Horizon League tournament, the team will meet the Raiders in the second round.
“We’re excited to come and play them,” Cole said. “We’re just ready to get after them again and show them how we really play, how we can battle.”
Considering YSU’s matchup with the Loyola Ramblers, there’s no doubt the Penguins (17-14, 7-9 HL) can battle.
YSU played Loyola to a 29-29 tie in the first 20 minutes.
The teams were still deadlocked at 60 with 12 seconds remaining.
With possession of the ball, Cole drove the left lane, stepped back and knocked-down a fade away jumper from just outside the paint with 2.5 seconds remaining.
With that, the Penguins won the fight.
“Coming off of our worst effort of the year on Saturday, to bounce back and to fight and to play like that was just a tremendous win for us,” said men’s basketball head coach Jerry Slocum. “It was just a tremendous game of character for our guys. We responded to every challenge.”
Their next challenge, third-seeded WSU, is 19-11 on the season.
In addition to Saturday’s beat-down, YSU played the Raiders on Jan. 23 at the Beeghly Center. The Penguins won that matchup, 68-61.
While the Penguins know they can compete with WSU, Slocum said YSU must approach Friday’s game with new ideas.
“Obviously, we’ll be in late at night and very early tomorrow morning to find to try out a different game plan,” he said.
Once again, that game plan will likely be made with the absence of the leading scorer, Kendrick Perry, in mind.
“We thought it was going to be going a little bit better than it has,” Slocum said. “Everyday he gets a little bit better, but I’m not taking a chance. … He’s really got to be ready. He’s not going at 80 percent.”