Bohannon, Quisenberry lead win at Binghamton
Naz Bohannon donned the dominant red Youngstown State University tank top and long shorts as part of his uniform Sunday in southern New York State.
The 6-foot-6 senior men’s basketball forward lamented his skills against another team hadn’t been utilized since a March 5 loss in Chicago.
Illness kept the most versatile Horizon League player shelved during Wednesday’s home opener against Point Park. Bohannon longed for the pivots, boxouts and rebounds, along with short, mid-range and 3-point jumpers the Lorain native aggressively displays in his repertoire.
“Every day I longed to get back out there and go to war with my guys,” said Bohannon after Sunday’s 79-65 win at Binghamton at the Events Center in Vestal, N.Y.
It was a comeback victory for the Penguins.
Binghamton’s Bryce Beamer made a pair of free throws with 4:15 left before halftime, extending the Bearcats’ lead to its largest, 34-19.
Bohannon, who finished with a game-high 23 points, reinforced to his team they need not worry about the deficit. The senior forward took matters into his own hands before the half expired. His 3-pointer off a fast break trimmed the Binghamton lead to 38-31 at intermission.
“It gave us the life we needed,” Bohannon said.
The Penguins kept whittling away at the Bearcats’ advantage as YSU (2-0) was harnessing the momentum off of Bohannon’s late first-half 3-pointer.
Darius Quisenberry, who mised the Point Park game because of knee soreness, surpassed 1,000 points in his YSU career on a 3-pointer with 8:54 remaining in the game. It was the Penguins’ first lead since 10-9.
“It’s a great milestone to hit in your career,” said Quisenberry, who had 17 points Sunday and now has 1,007 overall. “Should’ve had it last year, but everything happened last season with COVID-19, so it got cut short. This one means more to me though, because just from the summer to now this team has been through a lot from canceled games and two quarantines with us not being able to touch a ball.
“This win is a great confidence booster for everyone. Glad I could hit 1,000 my first game back, but never ever am I satisfied. Always more to be done or get better at.”
Bohannon said it was a matter of time before Quisenberry found his rhythm at Binghamton. The YSU junior point guard, who was a first-team, all-Horizon League preseason selection, had two points at halftime.
“He’s all-league for a reason and he showed it by hitting shots to open up the zone and close the game,” Bohannon said. “Him scoring his 1,000th point was big.
“We celebrated it in the meeting room, and it just supports the great player that he is. We are all focused on team goals, but when you do the right thing, personal accolades come with it.”
Senior forward Michael Akuchie had 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Garrett Covington added 11 points. Brenton Mills paced Binghamton (0-3) with 15 points.
Akuchie and Covington gave the much-needed boost the Penguins needed to overcome the zone-oriented Bearcats’ defense. It’s a zone defense YSU will see in its league opener Dec. 19-20 at Northern Kentucky.
“Those two guys are warriors, as you and I know,” said YSU coach Jerrod Calhoun to the team’s play-by-play announcer Robb Schmidt after the game. “They’ll go down as two of the better players in the history of this school. Hopefully, we’ll do something that’s never been done with getting to a Horizon League title or getting to an NCAA Tournament. That’s why they decided to come to YSU. I thought Naz carried us in the first half. Once DQ got going, everyone fed off the energy of those two guys. Garrett and Mike were phenomenal.”
BACK AT HOME: The Penguins host NAIA school West Virginia University Tech (Beckley, W.Va.) today at 4 p.m., at the Beeghly Center.
Jamie Hall, YSU assistant director of athletics communications, said tickets for today’s game can be purchased at the Stambaugh Stadium ticket office until 3 p.m. Tickets are $14 each, with no sales at the Beeghly Center.