By Christina Sainovich
The Youngstown State University men’s basketball team just ended a two-game road stretch against the top two teams in the Horizon League.
The team traveled to Northern Kentucky University on Jan. 16 to play the No. 2 seeded team in the conference. The Norse proved to be too much for the Penguins to handle as they fell 88-63.
Despite the loss, the Penguins saw a dominating performance from junior guard Garrett Covington. He totaled 17 points and was the only player to break double-figures in scoring for YSU. Darius Quisenberry also grabbed seven rebounds in the game.
The Penguins looked to rebound Jan. 18 at Wright State University. The team put up a tough battle against the top-ranked Raiders but ultimately lost the game 79-72. Quisenberry scored 19 points and added six assists and two steals in the game.
Christian Bentley gave YSU quality minutes coming off the bench as the team’s backup point guard over the two-game span. He said he has adjusted to his role on the team and wants to do whatever it takes to improve.
“I’ve accepted my role,” he said. “I’m real happy with it. I just want to help the team because winning is the most important thing to me.”
Bentley said there are lessons to learn from each game played.
“In every loss, there is something you can learn,” he said. “So, from this weekend, we took two losses. We’re just going to learn from them and try to move forward and be better for the rest of the season.”
Penguins coach Jarrod Calhoun said he found some positives in the team’s two road losses.
“We played in two of the best environments in the Horizon League,” Calhoun said. “So I think there’s a lot to gain from it. … We learned a lot about some things we’ve got to clean up for this week.”
He was also pleased with the way his team stayed focused during the Wright State game after the loss to Northern Kentucky.
“I was really proud of the way we responded on Saturday. I think Wright State is not only one of the best in the Horizon League but probably one of the best mid-major teams in the country,” Calhoun said.
The Penguins are in the middle of conference play, and Bentley said they feel the pressure to perform in the upcoming home games.
“As the season is coming to an end, the conference is really close right now,” Bentley said, “There’s a lot of teams at 4-3 just like us.”
Calhoun said the players are motivated for their next five home games and are ready to prove themselves in the Horizon League.
“We still have a lot to play for,” he said. “We’re really excited about this week and really the next five games.”
YSU will be in the Beeghly Center for the next five games. The Penguins will host the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Jan. 23 and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay on Jan. 25.