Frustrating defeat

Second-half drought leads to loss vs. Western Michigan

Special to Tribune Chronicle / Robert Hayes Youngstown State guard Kendale Hampton maneuvers toward the basket Saturday against Western Michigan Beeghly Center.

YOUNGSTOWN — Frustration. Youngstown State had plenty of it after Tuesday’s triple-overtime loss to Central Michigan.

The Penguins had a couple of days to overcome those feelings and instill some confidence in this youthful team.

But Western Michigan had other ideas in Saturday’s 88-77 victory over YSU, sending the Penguins to their fourth straight loss.

The Broncos (5-4) went on an 11-0 run midway through the second half to pull away from the Penguins (3-8).

YSU’s Antwan Maxwell made a 3-pointer from the top of the arc, seeing the ball favorably bounce up and then drop through the metal cylinder with 11:50 left for a short-lived 58-56 lead.

Michael Flowers countered 20 seconds later with a conventional three-point play to put Western Michigan back up 59-58. Flowers, a 6-foot-1 sophomore guard, had a game-high 25 points and had six two-point shots.

“He’s a veteran guard who can drive the ball,” YSU coach Jerrod Calhoun said. “Those are hard to find.”

The pivotal point in the game came as Donel Cathcart made a 3-pointer from the top of the key with less than 11 minutes remaining to give YSU momentum. The Penguins seemed to have beaten the shot clock on the play, but the subsequent video review said otherwise, showing Cathcart did not release the ball before the red light illuminated the perimeter of the backboard. It remained 59-58 and the Broncos continued on their 11-0 run.

“You can’t go in the second half, battle back and not score for six and a half minutes,” Calhoun said.

YSU trailed most of the first half and was down 49-38 at halftime. The Penguins were 15 of 31 and 6 of 15 from 3, but YSU’s help-side defense lacked in the first 20 minutes as Western Michigan shot 19 of 32 and 11 of 20 from 3 for the game.

“You can’t give up 49 to start and decide we’re going to start contesting shots,” Calhoun said. “We’re going to start rotating. We’re going to start boxing out. We’ve got to do it for 40 and that’s what this group has eventually got to get to to get wins. If you don’t, you’re not going to win.”

Garrett Covington led YSU with 15 points, while Kendale Hampton had 14. Darius Quisenberry and Maxwell each had 11, while Cathcart added 10.

The Penguins had 13 offensive rebounds. Calhoun wishes his team was wiser with those second-half opportunities. YSU was 10 of 29 from 3.

“When we get an offensive rebound, we shoot a lot of 3s,” he said. “We took nine bad shots in the first half.

“We didn’t have that problem against Central Michigan. You take nine bad shots, that’s not good. You’ve got to clean that up. Instead of taking a bad shot, drive the basketball.”

Next Saturday, YSU is at Binghamton, starting at 2 p.m.

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