Pair of doubleheaders planned
YOUNGSTOWN — Canisius and Thiel on Nov. 5. Lake Erie College and Binghamton on Dec. 18.
Two Youngstown State University women’s and men’s basketball doubleheaders.
It’s something YSU men’s basketball coach Jerrod Calhoun has circled on his calendar.
“I’ve been a big proponent of having doubleheaders,” he said. “I think that’s going to be exciting for the fans.”
The 2019-20 non-league schedule includes six home games for the men’s team (Thiel, North Carolina Central, Westminster, Robert Morris, Southeast Missouri State and Binghamton), along with a neutral site game against West Virginia on Dec. 21 at the Covelli Centre.
The Penguins, who went 12-20 last season, are at Louisville, Akron, Central Michigan and Western Michigan.
This is an upgrade from the normal two to four games at the Beeghly Center the past couple of seasons before Horizon League play.
“We want to make sure our kids have a chance in the non-conference and have some momentum going into conference play,” Calhoun said. “There’s a lot of good teams on there.”
The YSU women’s team, which went 22-10 last season, has six home games as well with Canisius, Kent State, Eastern Michigan, Wagner, Lake Erie College and Muskingum.
Some key road games are at Robert Morris, Akron and Indiana.
“Those games will definitely get us ready for the conference season,” YSU women’s coach John Barnes said.
The Penguins have one senior in Mary Dunn, a first-team, all-league player. There are four who sat out last year due to NCAA transfer rules. The depth on the front line is some of the best Barnes has seen in his past six years, leading to McKenah Peters moving from guard to forward.
YSU is deep in guard play as well.
How will the team’s schedule and the Penguins team mesh in 2019-20?
“I think our depth has been the best it’s ever been,” Barnes said. “How that translates into wins and losses is yet to be seen.”
LOCAL BATTLE: The Penguins men’s team has played Westminster the past couple of seasons.
Calhoun has developed a great relationship with Titans coach and Mineral Ridge High School graduate Kevin Siroki. Calhoun considers him a friend of the program.
The game on Nov. 27 generates a lot of local interest.
“Our games have been great against Westminster,” Calhoun said. “I think it’s a win-win for both schools. For them it’s really exciting. I hope that series is continued.”
MORE HOME GAMES: Calhoun said he’s shooting for a multi-team event at the Beeghly Center.
It was proposed for this season, but scheduling conflicts at the Beeghly Center prevented that from happening.
“If we can get between six and eight, I think that’s our goal,” Calhoun said. “Some years are going to be better than others. Year four the key is to have an MTE at home.”
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK: Purdue-Fort Wayne, another defection from the Summit League, joins the Horizon League for the 2020-21 season.
The league games will go from 18 to 20 in a well-balanced league.
“From top to bottom, this league is going to be very challenging,” Calhoun said.