YOUNGSTOWN - Jerry Slocum sauntered from his office, a short ways across the upper floor of the Beeghly Center and into the video room where the area media were waiting.
Monday's weekly news conference was a place where the Youngstown State University men's basketball coach rather not be.
He had to relieve the moments that defined this past three-game road trip where the Penguins went 0-3. It's not like YSU was decimated by Oakland, Wright State and Detroit. In fact, that might have been easier to cope with.
Out of the Penguins 12 losses, nine of them have been by 10 points of less - including this season's setback at St. John's (96-87).
The Oakland game was decided by last-second free throws. The Detroit game went to overtime where YSU missed a winning 3-pointer and a putback both missed. The Wright State game was dominated by the Raiders. However, the Penguins did cut the lead to eight with about a minute left.
"I'm here today miserable because we've been in one or two possession games and we've been on the short end of them," Slocum said.
The disheartening feeling comes from knowing that YSU (13-12, 4-6 Horizon League) could be tied with Wright State (14-13, 6-6) for fifth place in the league. Instead, the Penguins are seventh.
First place Green Bay (19-5, 9-2) leads Cleveland State (17-9, 8-3) in the lead standings. Placement in the Horizon League means everything when it comes to postseason as the regular-season champion hosts the quarterfinals and semifinals. The highest remaining seeded team hosts the championship game.
The top two seeds get byes to the semifinals, while the third seeded team doesn't play until the quarterfinals. Teams four through six host teams seven through nine in the first round.
YSU was hoping with Sunday's victory at Detroit they could put themselves in position for that third seed.
"We're right there. We get a win (Sunday) and seeing the teams that would've lost, we would've been at the top of the league," said YSU's Shawn Amiker, who had a career-high 25 at Detroit.
It's not like the Penguins have played poorly.
"The disappointing thing about these three games is we've played well," Slocum said. "It's not that we've played bad basketball. We're not taking care of the basketball like we should be in key moments, like on Sunday. We really, really battled in that game. It's unfortunate, but it's life."
Now, YSU hosts Green Bay tonight at 7:05 p.m.
"You are who you are," Slocum said. "Who we are is we've lost three in a row - all close games. I think we've fought in all of them.
"We keep telling our guys every one of our games in the loss column - all year long has been in the last 4 minutes. Therefore you have to be smart in those 4 minutes and play better than what we've played."