Youngstown State opened the season on a Saturday at George Washington and then went to Georgia that following Monday.
Nearly a week later, YSU struggled in the first half against St. Francis (Pa.).
Considering the Penguins handled GW and Georgia, Atlantic-10 and Southeastern Conference teams - on the road mind you - coming home against a Red Storm team seemed like an easy task. Wrong.
YSU struggled against St. Francis, seemingly sluggish in front of 2,023 fans at Beeghly Center - a decent crowd considering Brookfield and Youngstown Christian High Schools football teams were playing that night in their respective regional finals. And also, it's football season. Many even die-hard basketball fans don't start tuning in to basketball season until late January, when it comes time for the respective conference tournaments.
Nonetheless, the Penguins, who trailed in the first half against St. Francis, rallied to take the lead by the half and pulled away thanks to Blake Allen's prolific shooting from 3-point range.
In fact, all of YSU's starters scored in double figures. The downfall of Friday's game was the bench, which was outscored 26-4.
Entering what could be the Penguins' biggest challenge in years, the Legends Classic where YSU plays today through Wednesday at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, YSU can't afford to solely rely on its starters for these three games.
The bench was an integral part of the wins against GW and Georgia.
YSU faces North Dakota State (2-1) today at 4:30 p.m. The Bison's only loss came at No. 1 Indiana and are led by 6-foot-3 guard Mike Felt, 6-8 forward Marshall Bjorklund and 6-7 guard Taylor Braun - both who score in double figures.
The Bison advanced to the NCAA Tournament by winning the Summit League title (former Mid-Continent Conference) in 2009, so it's a tough task for the Penguins starting this grueling three-day stretch.
Tuesday, YSU takes on James Madison at 4:30 p.m. The Dukes are led by 6-6 guard A.J. Davis, who transferred from Wyoming after former coach Heath Schroyer was fired. Davis played along with former Warren G. Harding standout Desmar Jackson, who left Wyoming as well and is playing at Southern Illinois.
Meanwhile, James Madison's Rayshawn Goins, a 6-6, 265 forward, is going to be a load for the Penguins to handle in the post.
Then, there is host Duquesne, which lost its first two games at Albany and Georgetown.
The Dukes, height-wise, are sort of similar to the Penguins. They are led by a pair of guards - 6-1 Sean Johnson and 5-11 Derrick Colter.
This is the first meeting for YSU and North Dakota State and the Penguins are 2-0 against James Madison, but Duquesne holds the edge over the Penguins, 9-2. The Penguins beat the Dukes in the 2005-06 season at home and captured a victory during the 1997-98 season in Pittsburgh.
That said, the Penguins don't want fatigue to be an excuse when they reach Wednesday night's game against Duquesne. That game begins at 7 p.m.
"They'll have played the same amount of games as us," Allen said. "Don't look for that to be an excuse for us. We're going to come out and play as well as we can."