A good start
Penguins get rolling with rout of Thiel
YOUNGSTOWN — Tuesday’s result was a 101-53 dominating win against Thiel College, a Division III program in Western Pennsylvania.
There’s more to see of the Youngstown State University men’s basketball than a final score in its season opener.
It started as 6-foot-8 junior forward Michael Akuchie made a 3-pointer in the first minute of the game and then took a charge soon after his shot behind the expanded arc.
“The charge was by far my favorite play of the game,” Akuchie said.
He then put home a two-handed slam dunk off a transition pass from Naz Bohannon.
“I’m trying to crunch it,” Akuchie said. “I’m trying to dunk it as hard as I can. I want the crowd to scream. It’s like a game changer. You dunk it and everybody is cranked up. It can be like a poison for the other team.”
The Tomcats found themselves on the wrong end of a 24-8 deficit during the first half.
There’s much more to this opener as it’s a breakdown of the final statistics sheet.
Where to begin?
Six players in double figures, led by Darius Quisenberry’s 16. Donel Cathcart and Jamir Thomas both scored 13, while Garrett Covington, Naz Bohannon and Akuchie all had 11. All 13 players in the box score scored.
“The great part of tonight is everyone got a chance to play,” YSU coach Jerrod Calhoun said.
Fouls. YSU was one of the worst offenders in the Horizon League in that category last season. Tuesday, the Penguins had 11 as Thiel was 11 of 15 from the free-throw line.
Assist-to-turnover ratio. The Penguins had 23 assists and nine turnovers.
Intangibles. YSU huddled during breaks and helped fallen teammates off the hardwood floor. Communication with one another? There was plenty of chatter on Dom Rosselli Court.
Defense. Thiel was held to 19 of 59 from the floor.
Transition baskets. YSU had 34 points off of 24 Tomcat turnovers.
Christian Bentley to Tyler Foster for the one-handed, tongue-sticking-out slam for a 77-37 lead with about 10 minutes left.
Fun. There was plenty to be had on Tuesday.
Rebounding. Thiel had 27 defensive rebounds, not something the Penguins wanted to give up on Tuesday.
“We’ve still got a ways to go,” Calhoun said. “We’re not the biggest team. We’ve got to get a little tougher in that department.”
Lessons learned Tuesday will be build upon as YSU prepares for Sunday’s game at No. 5 Louisville, starting at 2 p.m. It’s the first of four games in the Global Sports Shootout.
“The little things mean a ton,” Akuchie said. “Coach was saying this game was about us. Don’t play the opponent. We’re playing against ourselves, trying to get ourselves better, work on some things. We got some tough games on the road.”