Belin finding shooting groove

YOUNGSTOWN – Kamren Belin’s recent offensive struggles seem to be in his past.

The 6-foot-7, 235-pound Youngstown State University forward missed his first two 3-point attempts in Saturday’s 68-67 victory against Wright State as the Penguins went to 13-9, 4-3 Horizon League. It seemed the YSU senior would continue his offensive woes – something that plagued him the previous three games. He had zero points against Cleveland State, six against Detroit and seven versus Valparaiso.

He averages around 12 points per game, but has struggled to get around nine points per outing in Horizon League play.

Then, there was the breakthrough for Belin. He made the next two 3s en route to an eight-point half where he was 3 of 8 from the floor and 2 of 6 from 3-point range against Wright State. He ended with 15 points.

Belin traces his offenses struggles to the Detroit and Valpo games.

“I was kind of gun shy the last two games, but everybody told me, ‘Keep on shooting. Keep on shooting.’ ” said Belin, whose team plays Friday at Oakland (8-14, 3-4). “I probably shot more that first half than I did the last two games. Right now, I’m trying to get comfortable shooting the ball and taking extra shots.”

He discussed it with YSU coach Jerry Slocum

“We need Kam to play well for us to be good,” Slocum said.

Belin knows practice makes perfect, but does that repetition help during the 40 minutes of game time? This was the same Belin who was named to the Horizon League All-Newcomer Team last season. Then, he averaged 11 points.

Offensively, things were getting better for Belin to start the season. He averaged nearly 14 points a game and had a career-high 32 points against Kent State.

He seemed like he would carry his offensive prowess into Horizon League play. Belin had 21 points in the final non-league game against South Dakota.

Then, he averaged 12 points against Green Bay, Milwaukee and UIC to begin the Horizon League season.

The offensive woes began against CSU.

Belin has felt the pressure of being more heavily guarded because teams know he’s an offensive threat.

“Everyone knows I can shoot the ball,” Belin said. “They might see me off the screen. I feel that’s built around to my game a little bit more, too. It should make me better as I adjust for the rest of the season.”

For now, Belin will keep honing his skills in the gym in preparation for Friday’s road contest against Oakland, starting at 7 p.m.

“I’m working on it every day, getting shots in when I can,” he said. “It’s different translating back into a game. It’s easier to go get up shots and not be in the game tempo. I’m just getting used to that again.”