By Robert Hayes
In a night that was filled with lead changes, hard fouls and 3-point shots, one thing is for certain: Garrett Covington called game.
Covington’s nothing but net buzzer-beater gave the Youngstown State University Penguins the win over the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers and their third straight victory. It’s YSU’s first three-game win streak since the 2017-18 season.
Ironically enough, Covington’s buzzer-beater happened nearly a year after he hit the game winning shot against Oakland University at the Beeghly Center last season.
In his postgame press conference, Covington gave credit to his teammates for giving him the opportunity to take the game winning shot.
“I know they were all going to collapse, on drives they have been collapsing pretty much the whole game,” Covington said. “Naz [Bohannon] had a really nice cut, left me wide open, just knocked down.”
Penguins Coach Jerrod Calhoun said that it wasn’t the play he designed, but it works for him.
“I was just screaming to him ‘penetrate kick,’ and [Bohannon] said he didn’t hear me, but he made the right play.” Calhoun said. “[Covington] shot it in rhythm, the pass was right on the money.”
It was a good evening for Bohannon as he was a big contributor for the Penguins with 15 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals. This is the third game this season Bohannon has posted a double-double. Bohannon received plenty of praise from Calhoun following the win.
“Tonight my MVP was Naz Bohannon, because I heard him throughout the whole game, I heard him in huddles, I heard him on the floor,” Calhoun said. “This program, this team, this culture needs guys that are going to take a little ownership, and tonight he was a monster.”
Devin Morgan also played a key role in the Penguins victory over the Panthers (9-15, 4-7). His 21 points off the bench was one of the deciding factors, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
“The guys just told me knock it down if you’re open,” Morgan said. “We got a lot of drive and kicks. Once I got into a rhythm, I hit one or two. Of course it was a heat check. I took a bad shot down the stretch, but my coaches kept running plays for me.”
Morgan’s shooting allowed YSU to keep Milwaukee off-balance, and allowed them to develop their game in the paint.
This win represents a major point in YSU’s season. Earlier in the season the team dropped several close games, but the youthful Penguins seem to be putting things together at the right time.
“This is perfect for us right now, we’ve been in a lot of games and lost within the last couple of minutes, so I think we’ve learned from that experience, and we’re starting to grow and learn,” Covington said.
The Penguins have now taken the season series against Milwaukee for the first time since 2013, and have defeated the Panthers for the third straight time at the Beeghly Center.
YSU defeated Milwaukee by a final score of 76-51 on the road earlier this season, which marked their biggest margin of victory for a true road game during YSU’s Division I era (started in ‘81-’82.)
YSU is back in action this weekend, as they play host to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix (12-12, 6-5) at the Beeghly Center on Feb. 9 with tip off scheduled for 6 p.m.