YSU hosts Canisius in CIT tonight

YOUNGSTOWN – Canisius brings a triple threat into Youngstown tonight for a second-round CollegeInsider.com Tournament game.

Tip-off is at 7:05 p.m.

The Penguins (18-15) host the Golden Griffins (19-13), who sport a trifecta of guards in Billy Barron, Harold Washington and Isaac Sosa. All three average double figures and shoot at least 38 percent from 3-point range.

Canisius averages 73 points per outing.

“They (Canisius) are a very good offensive basketball team,” YSU coach Jerry Slocum said. “They’re top two or three in the MAAC in scoring. They usually go with three guards and take 27 threes a game and they make about 9 or 10 a game. They look to outscore you.

“They play in a really good basketball league.”

YSU knows Canisius has a hardcore defense as well. The Golden Griffins held Elon, in Wednesday’s opening 69-53 first-round CIT win, to a season-low 29.4 percent from the floor.

The Penguins wanted more prep time for Canisius, but things weren’t solidified until Thursday at noon – despite most of the second-round field being decided by late Wednesday night.

“We were hoping to know everything by (Wednesday) night,” Slocum said. “Then I got in at about six (Thursday) morning and was hoping to know by seven or eight, then work all day. Ended up that we didn’t find out until noon. We had a good practice today, though, and hopefully our guys will retain everything. We have a hard day of work ahead (Friday) and Saturday’s walk-through will be important.”

It’s important YSU has got to this point – second round of the CIT. It’s not a dream come true for the Penguins, it’s a reality they created, Slocum said.

“Yes, I would’ve believed it,” he said. “We’re very excited about being in the CIT and someday soon we hope to be playing on this Thursday and not in the CIT.”

YSU is at this point for tonight’s game because the Penguins are all healthy – something they haven’t been in more than a month. YSU displayed its prowess with a school-record 18 3-pointers in a 99-87 first-round victory over Oakland, which made last year’s CIT Final Four.

“Obviously you saw great ball movement and we found open guys and we were able to play at a tempo we haven’t played at in about four weeks,” Slocum said.

Tribune Chronicle correspondent Andrew Whitmer contributed to this story