YSU coach happy; Penguins set record
YOUNGSTOWN – Youngstown State men’s basketball coach Jerry Slocum did his best impersonation of Norman Dale – Gene Hackman’s character in the 1980s movie “Hoosiers.”
When his Hickory Huskers started the season, Hackman’s character wanted his team to pass four times before shooting the ball.
Slocum demanded the same type of ball distribution from his Penguins during their 108-57 win over Westminster at the Beeghly Center Saturday.
Defensively, YSU shut down the Titans (0-4) – holding them to 31 percent from the floor. Paul Carswell led the team with 21 points.
YSU’s Bobby Hain paced the Penguins (6-1) with 16 points and nine rebounds. Hain’s nine rebounds contributed to YSU’s new school-record of 66 rebounds. Westminster had 20. The previous school record was 64 set Jan. 26, 1987 against Tennessee Tech.
The Penguins had 10 blocked shots. The YSU record was 14 against Delaware State in Feb. 14, 1983.
However, the most telling statistic was 23 assists.
“In these kind of games, there’s a level of excellence you want,” Slocum said. “I think we did it from beginning to end. I thought all of our guys played well today. I thought we shared the ball well. We were unselfish. I thought we showed some good aggressiveness in terms of going and getting it.
“The thing that made me the happiest is that we shared the ball. We played very unselfish.”
With 3 minutes left in the half, YSU freshman Marcus Keene, who had 15 points off the bench, rolled on the floor to get a loose ball. The ball eventually went off a Westminster player.
“That dude is a great basketball player,” Slocum said. “We just got to get, with a couple of our guys, to understand it’s not football. You can’t play defense on one guy, sub and play offense on the other end. You have to play both ends of the floor and we’re starting to get it.”
Offensively, YSU shot 46 percent for the game 56 percent in the first half.
This was the Penguins second straight non-Division I opponent, which gave YSU’s bench some much-needed minutes. Slocum said his reserves played better Saturday than they did Wednesday against Thiel.
Kendrick Perry added 13 points, while Jalon Plummer added 11 and Shawn Amiker had 10. YSU’s bench outscored Westminster, 54-23.
“You want to throw those guys in there and let them see,” Slocum said. “Obviously, Marcus Keene is a pretty good player. But today you saw Jalon and Kyle (Steward) have a chance to help us down the road.”
Wednesday, YSU travels to Kent State. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.