Flames burn YSU
Penguins fail to follow scouting report in 92-78 loss
YOUNGSTOWN — Scouting.
It’s something coaches do during the course of the week.
It translates into film study and work on the court as players go against a scout team.
Tendencies are known. Strategies are learned.
Thursday, Youngstown State didn’t implement those tools in a 92-78 loss against Illinois-Chicago.
“When you don’t do stuff like that you get the result we got today,” said YSU sophomore wing Braun Hartfield, who had a team-high 25 points and 10 rebounds.
UIC (9-11, 4-3 Horizon League) shot 32 of 64 from the floor, but more importantly the Flames were 14 of 26 from 3-point range — most of those long-range shots were uncontested.
UIC only made more than 10 3-pointers once this season. Thursday was the most the Flames made this campaign.
“That’s not something we do a lot of,” Flames coach Steve McClain said. “We don’t shoot a lot of 3s. Maybe it was with us tonight that those were all going in. If they hadn’t gone in, it would’ve been a whole different game.”
Cameron Morse, who was limited to 10 points, had 40 last season in an overtime loss to UIC at the Beeghly Center.
YSU coach Jerrod Calhoun broke down last year’s game and saw what opportunities Morse had and how he was able to capitalize.
Thursday, the Flames took him out of his comfort zone as Morse was 4 of 14 from the floor and 2 of 7 from 3.
One of the two 3s Morse had was with 8:37 left to play as YSU (5-15, 3-4) cut the UIC lead to one, 80-79.
The Penguins were 8 of 22 from 3 for the game.
“We knew they love to score, especially with that 3 ball,” said UIC senior forward Tai Odiase, who had 17 points and five of the team’s 11 blocked shots. “Whenever they had the ball around the arc, we had to make them drivers and funnel them into me.”
Odiase broke the Horizon League’s all-time shot block record with 310, one more than former YSU standout and Warren G. Harding graduate Damian Eargle.
“That kid is a monster inside. He’s a human eraser,” Calhoun said.
Odiase enjoys being a help to his teammates.
“I came to UIC wanting to leave my mark here before I left,” he said.
UIC led 81-75 after Hartfield’s lay-up with 2:43 remaining. The Penguins were still in the game until the Flames went on an 11-3 run to end the game.
Calhoun, who kept clapping and encouraging his young players, saw disheveled souls wandering around in YSU uniforms.
They panicked. They didn’t grind it out. It wasn’t the same team which went 3-0 to start the Horizon League season.
UIC, which was outrebounded 41-34, didn’t give up so many second chances late in the game. YSU had 16 offensive rebounds.
The last eight minutes have been the deciding factor for the Penguins in most of their Horizon League games.
“I don’t think our toughness is there yet,” Calhoun said. “I don’t think we know how to get over that hump yet. That’s what’s frustrating.”
YSU needs to win ugly, which will eventually come.
If the offense isn’t working, you have to rely on your defense to score, something this Penguins team has to learn. YSU gives up more than 82 points per game.
“We’re known for giving up a lot of points,” Calhoun said. “You don’t want to be known for that.”
Tarkus Ferguson had 14 points, while Godwin Boahen and Dominique Matthews combined for 25 points off the bench for UIC.
Devin Haygood had 13 points for YSU, while Naz Bohannon added 12 and Garrett Covington put in 11.
Marcus Ottey scored a game-high 29 points for UIC. He was 4 of 4 from 3, but 12 of 15 from the floor — constantly driving to his left.
Calhoun said his team was told to force Ottey right.
Hartfield added that his team tried to get open because they knew UIC was going to deny the wing. Screening was a huge emphasis, trying to get open.
The scouting report was heeded in the home wins against Green Bay and Milwaukee. Not against UIC.
“You can’t win home, away, neutral when you have a lot of scouting errors. I thought we had a lot of those tonight,” Calhoun said.