By Marc Weems
The Youngstown State University men’s basketball team (3-4) came into their game against Canisius College (2-4) on a two-game win streak after beating Westminster College 97-67 on Tuesday. The team looked to continue their streak with a win against Canisius.
Canisius’ tempo became a problem for the Penguins. The Griffins held their tempo all game to put them ahead of the Penguins in the first half and eventually led to a 90-84 win over YSU.
“I was really disappointed with our effort in this game,” YSU head coach Jerry Slocum said. “We have a ‘light switch group.’ It is showing up in our practices and now it’s showing up in our games.”
At the end of the first half, Canisius led YSU 41-35 with Canisius guard Kassius Robertson leading the way with 14 points. Guard Francisco Santiago led the Penguins with nine first-half points.
“We were getting stops but we weren’t finishing them,” Santiago said. “We know we are getting anything we want on offense but we aren’t stopping anything on defense. It kind of felt like our team came out very lackadaisical.”
Canisius came out blazing in the second half. Led by Robertson and forward Phil Valenti, YSU had to take a timeout with 17:35 left in the game after the Griffins went on a 10-4 run to start the half. Canisius led 51-39 at that point in the game.
“The biggest thing was that we drilled what [Canisius] was going to do and they didn’t do anything different,” Slocum said. “They got a couple of threes off of offensive rebounds. The disappointing part is just that we did not execute well when we needed to.”
Canisius’ lead only continued to grow as they led YSU 76-61 with 7:57 left in the game.
YSU was able to cut the lead down to 84-79 with just 48.3 left in the game.
Canisius was able to move the ball while still grabbing more rebounds than the Penguins. YSU was outrebounded 34-29 with Canisius getting a 13-10 offensive rebounding advantage.
Slocum said that the team had no intensity on either end of the floor, even though the statistics would beg to differ.
YSU shot 53.2 percent from the field overall and 45 percent from the 3-point line. Even with those numbers, Slocum was still unhappy with the effort that the Penguins gave.
Santiago led the Penguins with a career-high 23 points while tying a career-high with 11 assists.
“They started running up our backs, and in a game like this, everyone needs to have each other’s back,” Santiago said. “If I drive to the basket, and fall down, someone needs to get my guy until I can get back up and help.”
YSU’s next game will be at Robert Morris University on Wednesday at 7p.m..