Media timeouts during collegiate basketball games could be used for many different purposes.
It allows the media to update on Twitter and Facebook. It’s the time when television ads are used the most. The list goes on.
But what many people may not realize is that the final media timeout — which is normally around the 4:00 mark in a game — determines if a team will win or not. That’s what happened to the Youngstown State University men’s basketball team.
“It’s just like our conference,” coach Jerry Slocum said. “We had won two of those [game this season], and didn’t make enough plays in the last two [games] to win those. You’re going to need that kind of effort against a team that we have struggled with.”
During the Thanksgiving break, the Penguins fell at Kent State University, 83-79, on Wednesday. Then, they shockingly lost to Austin Peay State University, 88-86, on Saturday.
The funny thing is that YSU (6-3) defeated itself, or so senior Kamren Belin thinks.
“I feel like the last two games weren’t exactly losses,” he said. “That’s a good thing and a bad thing. We shouldn’t beat ourselves, but the good thing about that is we did beat ourselves. The other team didn’t do it.”
One player they were without was junior DJ Cole. He left in the second half on Wednesday, favoring his left ankle. Slocum said Cole is day-to-day.
“He did not practice [on Monday],” Slocum said. “We definitely missed him last week. He keys us defensively.”
Cole is averaging 6.1 points per game and has 31 assists. Freshman Marcus Keene filled the void and started his first collegiate game on Saturday.
“The thing that really throws us off is timing around our point guard,” Belin said. “Marcus is getting used to us, and we’re getting used to him. As the game goes on, the speed picks up, and I feel like if he progresses throughout the game, then everything will be fine.”
Keene is averaging 10.2 points per contest and is shooting 39 percent from beyond the 3-point line. The main difference between Keene and Cole is defense, which Keene has not fully developed in his game.
“He is getting better every day, but his basketball IQ at the defensive end just needs to be better,” Slocum said. “[He] might be one of the [most gifted] guards I’ve ever had as a freshman at the offensive end. We’re encouraged of his development.”
The Penguins’ next game is on Wednesday against Robert Morris University. The Colonials (3-5) defeated YSU, 59-56, on Dec. 22, 2011 at Beeghly Center. YSU is 4-9 all time versus the Colonials and is on a seven-game losing streak against them.
“This is a veteran, scrappy, back to the wall type of game,” Slocum said. “I anticipate a tremendous effort from them. This is a good basketball team. I’m sure their coming in desperate. We’ll get their best effort.”
During this two-game losing streak and a tough schedule before conference play begins, a victory on Wednesday would be huge. Slocum doesn’t look at it as a must win scenario, though.
“For me, it’s about having a really good practice today,” he said. “We’ve got to take care of business in terms of working hard and getting better. If we do that, things will always take care of themselves.”