Defense falters in defeat

Tribune Chronicle / John Vargo Youngstown State’s Cameron Morse picks up a loose basketball on a Detroit turnover Friday night.

YOUNGSTOWN — Garrett Covington’s last-second putback against Oakland sank the Golden Grizzlies on yet another buzzer-beater. It sent Covington and his YSU teammates into a frenzy. The viral videos of that shot went out over social media.

That was Wednesday.

On Friday, Detroit swept the season series against the Penguins, 94-84.

“We didn’t get enough stops on defense, so we came out with the L,” YSU senior guard Cameron Morse said.

It gave YSU something to ponder as it continues to try to shed the culture of losing that has prevailed around this program for way too long. The Penguins gave up 90-plus points in both losses to Detroit, which showed a lack of defense.

Tribune Chronicle / John Vargo Youngstown State's Jeremiah Ferguson, left, is guarded by Detroit's Cole Long, center, and Jermaine Jackson Jr.

YSU coach Jerrod Calhoun talked about players taking ownership, the future of this program like Naz Bohannon, Covington and Braun Hartfield.

Tonight, he’ll see another future Penguin in Columbus Beechcroft wing Jelani Simmons, whose team faces Eastmoor for the Columbus City Championship.

“I can’t go out there and play defense,” Calhoun said. “I didn’t play much when I played, but it can’t always come from the coach. That’s going to happen over time, when we bring in recruiting classes, when we bring in some more depth on our bench.

“Those things will come.”

The win for Detroit was the 11th straight against the Penguins, who have dropped to 8-21, 6-10 in the Horizon League.

The Titans, the last-place team in the Horizon League, last lost to the Penguins on Jan. 18, 2014.

YSU’s Tyree Robinson was 8 of 10 from the floor in 17 minutes and Calhoun appreciated his effort on the floor.

Calhoun said he wanted to play the junior post more minutes, but Robinson didn’t have the stamina to stay in the game.

However, resting wasn’t an option with post players Hartfield, Bohannon and Devin Haygood in foul trouble. Detroit was 24 of 25 from the foul line.

When players get winded after working hard in this team’s offense, they put their fist up to get a quick spell.

“He said, ‘Coach, I need 3 minutes,’ “ Calhoun said. “I said, ‘Ty, we’re going get you back there in 30 seconds.’ There’s 8:30 left on the clock.

“I said we’re going to put you back in there when you’re ready to go. We got him back in there within 30 seconds.”

Bohannon had 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Jaylen Benton put in 11 for YSU.

Kameron Chatman led six double-figure scorers for the Titans (8-20, 4-11) with a game-high 26 points and 11 rebounds. Roschon Prince had 16 points, while DeShawndre Black put in 11. Josh McFolley, Jermaine Jackson Jr. and Corey Allen each had 12 points for the Titans.

Chatman is one of the Horizon League’s leading scorers, getting well-above his average Friday.

“He’s got length, skill, size,” Calhoun said. “We struggle against teams that have length, size and skill. They’re a little similar to UIC with those long, lanky wings. That’s what we hope to bring in here the next couple of years, guys that can pass, catch, shoot.

“I thought he was tremendous tonight.”

Detroit shot almost 60 percent from the floor and went out to an 11-0 lead to start the second half after leading by one at halftime.

Why does Detroit have such a stranglehold on this team?

“It seems like we lose the same way every year,” said Morse, who had a team-high 17 points. “They come out of halftime making shots, plays. We don’t find a way to pick it up.

“Honestly, I couldn’t tell you.”

The Penguins had 15 turnovers and nine assists.

“We struggle when we don’t pass the ball real well, being a young team that struggles at times with that,” Calhoun said.

Defensively, it wasn’t the night they hoped to see.

Calhoun said watching the YSU women’s team on Thursday, he saw a good defensive unit which has been undefeated in February.

“They play the game the right way,” Calhoun said. “They move the ball. They’re all very, very skilled and can all shoot.

“I don’t know what happened to our ball movement tonight. It was totally different than we saw the night before. That was sad to see.”

Monday, YSU is at Northern Kentucky, starting at 7:30 p.m.