YSU a bit weary as opener looms

YOUNGSTOWN – Jerry Slocum is pretty adamant about his team starting the season with games in three straight days.

He likes it about as much as kid likes Brussels sprouts.

“I don’t like it,” Slocum said.

Friday, the Penguins start the season at the Kennesaw State tournament – beginning with the host Owls at 7:30 p.m. It’s followed up with Saturday’s game against Florida International (3 p.m.) and Sunday’s contest versus Eastern Kentucky (1 p.m.). The last game of this tournament is back at the Beeghly Center – a game against Warren Wilson (Nov. 14, 7:05 p.m.).

“I’m not sure our young guys are ready,” Slocum said. “That’s a concern when you’re playing three games back to back to back. Your bench is a major factor.

“Turnaround time on them, and if you look and did what I did, you’ll go, ‘Oh, my!’ Every one of those is less than a 24-hour turnaround. That’s a concern for me. Your prep time is non existent. On top of that, you’re going to have to play your bench.”

Slocum remembers last year’s tournament at Duquesne University where the Penguins lost three games in as many days. Did they learn anything that will help heading into this year’s three-game stint.

“I hope we do it a lot better,” he said. “We had three heartbreaking games, overtime, at the buzzer. We played Duquesne to the last media timeout and it was three- or four-point game.”

YSU senior forward Kamren Belin said pushing through the fatigue factor is key for this upcoming three-game set.

“We got to keep up our energy every day,” Belin said. “You get tired after the first game, second game, third game, you’re probably dead. You have to keep on pushing and get through it.”

When push comes to shove, Kennesaw State has six players 6-foot-7 or taller.

“They’re a team that plays in to out, plays very solid in the post,” Slocum said. “That’s never been our strength in terms of big, strong kids in the post. We’ll have to figure out what to do. The other side of that is they have to chase our little guys around, too.

“It’s going to be a challenge for us.”