Live action at YSU

New-look Penguins play first game against Thiel for charity

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Youngstown State’s Naz Bohannon, center, drove to the lane during Tuesday’s game against Thiel in Youngstown. YSU won, 106-74.

YOUNGSTOWN — With the Youngstown State University men’s basketball team going through a grueling summer and fall of practice, it saw its first live action on Tuesday.

YSU faced off against Division III Thiel College during a hurricane relief exhibition. YSU won, 106-74.

“We take away that today was a confidence booster. We’ve been waiting six months to play somebody other than ourselves,” YSU forward Naz Bohannon said. “We were so happy for this moment. Coach wanted us to go and pounce.”

Bohannon said when he got the call from coach Jerrod Calhoun in April, he was excited because he loved the style of play.

For YSU, it was all about getting turnovers and getting out on runs in the open floor. YSU did that well in the first half, leading, 57-30. YSU caused 19 turnovers and scored 22 points off those turnovers.

“We didn’t know what to expect to be honest with you. Everybody keeps asking me about my team. It’s early,” Calhoun said. “It’s college basketball but I though tonight that everybody won. We got to raise some money for the hurricane victims of Puerto Rico. That to me is awesome. It goes to whatever charity that we chose to help people.”

Calhoun said he believes the other win was seeing how his guys will play together.

One of YSU’s biggest problems came with free throws and fouls. YSU shot just 10 of 18 from the line and fouled 15 times in the half.

In the second half, it was more of the same for the Penguins. YSU’s press style is very unlike most teams and that flustered Thiel quite a bit.

“It was pretty interesting today. It was our first game plus it’s a good cause for the people down in Houston, Puerto Rico and all around the world,” YSU guard Cameron Morse said. “I feel like this was a good cause and our team was ready since we didn’t know what to expect. We are all trying to figure each other out. This is a good way to start the year off.”

Morse said because of the style of play, it will help everyone get easier shots.

“Even if the other team does score, we are still pushing it down their throat and we are still trying to get easy buckets,” Morse said.

YSU is slated to play at least one more scrimmage before the Penguins take on Kent State on Nov. 11 in Akron in during the Northeast Ohio Coaches vs. Cancer doubleheader.