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Started By PointGuard, Nov 08, 2017 01:43 AM

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#241

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Penguins Feel the Burn
By Steve Porter

The UIC Flames hit 5 of 7 three-pointers early in the Youngstown State’s game last night and took a 29-16 lead after 9 minutes of play. Late in the half the Penguins were able to cut into the lead and closed to within 43-37 at the break. C Will O’Neil scored 16.

The Flames came out hot again in the 2nd half and went ahead 58-44 with 16 minutes left. YSU was dropped behind by as much as 20 points and ended up taking an 84-69 drubbing. The Penguins uncharacteristically turned the ball over 17 times, but the primary differences in the game were that the Flames hit 10 of 23 threes while YSU was able to connect on only 1 of 8 and UIC got to the line 11 more times the YSU.

C Will O’Neil scored 21 points while SF Colin Chambliss hit for 13. But UIC’s two starting guards combined for 40 points with SG Gary Cunningham dropping in 22 and PG Bret Maloney adding 18.

Coach KD Durst said, “UIC simply outplayed us tonight. I guess you could call this an old-fashion butt-kicking. This third straight loss dropped us into 3rd place in the league, so we now have to dig our way out of the hole we’ve created.”

During the Penguins 11 game win streak, they held their opponents to 46-72 points each game, but in their 3 straight losses, their defense has fallen apart and they’ve given up 80+ points in each loss.



#242

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Penguins Pounce on Panthers
By Steve Porter

PG Pat White scored 10 points in the first 7 minutes of the game to lead the Penguins as they took a 16-12 lead over the visiting Milwaukee Panthers last night. They expanded their advantage to 38-20 with 4 minutes remaining in the half as they forced repeated turnovers by the Panthers. The half ended with YSU on top 42-27. Milwaukee had 14 turnovers compared to just 2 by Youngstown State. White’s 10 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals led the Penguins in the half.

Milwaukee cut the lead to 10 points but then the Penguins spurted out to a 57-34 lead with 14 minutes to go in the game. With YSU hitting 49% of their shots and holding a 26-4 turnover advantage, the Penguins got back on the winning track again by the score of 89-60. 

C Will O’Neil scored 21 points while PG Pat White hit for 20. SF Colin Chambliss contributed 12.

The victory improved Youngstown State’s league record to 7-3 and put them in a tie for 2nd place one game behind Oakland.

“We were sick and tired of losing,” said PG Pat White. “We knew we had to get back to playing strong defensively, so tonight was a good step in that direction. We’ve got to travel to Detroit, the team that’s tied for 2nd place with us, for our next game, so we’ll need to play our best and hopefully this game was a good tune up for that.”



#243

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O’Neil Wins Double Honors
By Steve Porter

The Horizon League again awarded both their Freshman Player of the Week and their Player of the Week awards to the Penguins’ C Will O’Neil. O’Neil has now won 9 of 11 weekly Freshman of the Week awards handed out by the Horizon League and 2 Player of the Week awards.

After 19 games this season O’Neil is now averaging 19.1 ppg, which is tops in the Horizon League. He’s also averaging 6.6 rpg which is 5th best in the league and 1.1 bpg which is tied for 5th best in the league. 

Other Penguins in the Top 5 in statistical categories for the Horizon League are PG Pat White who tops the league in assists, averaging 5.9 apg and PF Aaron Tice whose 7.1 rpg is 4th best in the league.

“It’s been fun watching this kid develop,” said senior PG Lenihan Murphy about Will O’Neil. “He came into practice with a good rep, but without expectations that he’d win a starting role, let alone carry our team offensively. He has an uncanny ability to work his way to the basket and put the ball in the hoop. He’s also got a nice jump shot that makes it hard for defenders since if they fight to keep him from driving to the bucket, he can just pull up and pop in a shot. He’s hitting 2/3 of his shots from up to 10 feet from the basket and over 60% of his shots overall. He’s scored 20+ points in 9 of our games and been in double figures in all but one game for us.”



#244

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SAT Results Alter Penguins’ Recruiting Efforts
By Steve Porter

With three of four available scholarships yet to fill, recruiting remains a big challenge for the Penguins’ coaching staff. Brandon Warren, 1st assistant coach and the man in charge of recruiting for Coach KD Durst said, “Due to their failure to meet our minimum SAT requirements we lost a couple very talented and highly rated recruits who were high up on our list. But we still have a bunch of very strong players we’re continuing to watch and keep in contact with and now we'll just focus more upon those recruits. Right now our goal is to continue to build their interest in our program, while keeping our recruiting costs down, so we can have a good chance of landing them once their high school or JC seasons are completed this spring. Morris Phelan, the recruit who has signed a Letter of Intent for us already, is a great inside player, but we want to sign at least one more big man and a talented guard, preferably a point guard. Coach KD and I remain very optimistic about our chances this spring.”



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DEEE-Fense!
By Steve Porter

Youngstown State’s game last night against the Detroit Titans was a battle for sole possession of 2nd place in the Horizon Leagues. The Penguins defeated the Titans 91-70 earlier this season, but that was at home and last night’s game sent the Penguins on the road.

The game was a defensive battle early with both teams making it tough for the other to get clear shots. After 5-1/2 minutes of play, YSU led 9-5 with 4 of the starters in the scoring column. But with 11 minutes to go in the half, Detroit took its first lead at 14-13. The Penguins regained the lead and held it until the half ended with YSU ahead 34-29. Both teams hit about 35% of their shots in the half. C Will O’Neil scored 10 points to lead YSU while his counterpart, C William Rogers, led the Titans with 8 points.

The defenses continued to make scoring difficult in the 2nd half, but led Will O’Neil along with a tenacious team defense, the Penguins gained a 12 point advantage at 43-31 with 14 minutes remaining. YSU then expanded their lead to 17 before settling for a 66-55 victory. While the Penguins hit just 37% of the FG attempts, they held Detroit’s shooting to 33% while forcing the Titans to turn the ball over 17 times and controlled the boards 41-33. 

C Will O’Neil dropped in 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and also had 2 steals and 2 blocks. SF Colin Chambliss scored 9 points but pulled down 16 boards and had 1 steal and 3 blocks.

“This was our best defensive effort of the year, except for the final 5 minutes when we were coasting,” said Coach KD Durst. “Detroit has a very good team, so defeating them on their court was big for us.”



#246

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Offenses Sputter 
By Steve Porter 

After a strong start, Valparaiso’s season has fallen on hard times, particularly after C Travon Capel broke his finger. But Valparaiso took a small lead early in the game, but even though the Penguins’ shooting was abysmal, their lock-down defense allowed them to gain an 11-10 lead with 8:12 remaining in the half. But while the Penguins held the Crusaders shooting to 29%, YSU could only manage to sink 20% of their shots and fell behind 20-16 at the break. C Will O’Neil was the only Penguin not exhibiting ice-cold shooting. He had 9 points in the half. 

As Youngstown State’s shooting woes continued, Valparaiso took a 26-16 lead after 2 minutes of play in the 2nd half. At that point the Penguins began to dig themselves out of the hole they had dug and with 12:42 to play, B.J. Dennis hit a 15 foot jumper to tie the game at 31-31. But the Penguins continued to shoot poorly and fell behind again until Will O’Neil drove to the basket and put in a shot over his defender that gave YSU a 47-46 lead with 1:26 to play. Then B.J. Dennis picked off a pass as the Crusaders worked the ball around trying to get a free shot. Dennis lofted an alley-oop pass to a driving Colin Chambliss who jammed it down to give YSU a 49-46 advantage with 38 ticks on the clock. The Penguins then harassed the Crusaders to keep them from being able to put up a shot. Valparaiso tossed up a contested shot with 16 seconds remaining but it was off the mark and the Penguins rebounded. YSU called a quick timeout to get their best foul shooters on the floor. The ball was inbounded and quickly passed to Pat White on the left wing. He was fouled but was able to put the ball up in the air outside the arc so was awarded 3 shots. He only made one of his shots though but that gave the Penguins a 4 point lead. Valparaiso quickly brought the ball up court and hit a last second 3 to make the final score 50-49 in favor of Youngstown State. 

On a night when the Penguins hit just 33% of their FG attempts and only 2 of 17 from 3-point distance and 4 of 10 from the free throw line, they were able to limit Valparaiso’s shooting to 35% for force the Crusaders to make 21 turnovers thus allowing YSU to escape with a razor-thin victory. The win improved their season record to 16-5 and their league record to 9-3, leaving them in 2nd place, one game behind Oakland, in the Horizon League.

Leading Youngstown State was C Will O’Neil who recorded another double-double (15 points and 13 rebounds) to go along with a steal and 2 blocks. SF Chris Chambliss scored 11 and yanked down 9 boards. 

“We were unable to click offensively the entire game. We only were able to pull off a last minute win due to playing solid defense all night,” said Coach KD Durst. “Each one of those misses clanking off the rim just seemed to get louder and louder to me as the game progressed. This game definitely gave me some gray hairs.”



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O’Neil Doubles Again
By Steve Porter

By scoring 37 points, grabbing 24 rebounds, and garnering 3 steals and 5 blocks, C Will O’Neil again won both the Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week awards in the Horizon League for this past week. O’Neil is now averaging 19.0 ppg (tops in the league) and 7.1 rpg (4th best in the league) for the entire season.

“Will simply took the team on his shoulders and carried us to two big wins this past week,” said Coach KD Durst.



#248

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Penguins Burned by Norse 
By Steve Porter

Northern Kentucky blitzed the Penguins in the first 2-1/2 minutes and took an 11-0 lead. After 5-1/4 minutes of play YSU trailed 21-4 and both PF Aaron Tice and C Will O’Neil were relegated to the bench with two fouls apiece. Northern Kentucky continued to burn the Penguins by hitting 13 of their first 14 shots and 15 of their first 17 to take a 37-12 lead with 9 minutes to play in the half. The Penguins then went on a 13-0 run that cut the lead to 12 points. But the Norse cam back to take a 46-28 lead to the locker room. Northern Kentucky hit 61% of their shots compared to 39% by the Penguins. C Will O’Neil scored 9 points for YSU.

In the 2nd half, Youngstown State seemed to be making headway several times early in the half, but the Norse stopped any sustained run each time. But with 7:18 to play, the Penguins had reduced the lead to 63-53. Then with 3:18 left, the lead had shrunken to 67-60. A lay-in by Will O’Neil with 1:50 to play put the Penguins within 4 at 68-64. But that was as close as they could get and Northern Kentucky pasted a loss on YSU by a score of 74-66. The loss dropped the Penguins back into a tie with Detroit for 2nd place in the Horizon League, a game behind 1st place Oakland.

Leading the scoring for Youngstown State was C Will O’Neil with 17 points and he pulled down 8 rebounds. PF Aaron Tice added 11 points and 7 boards.

“We ran into a hot-shooting Norse team tonight. We made a nice run but it was just too late in the game,” said Coach KD Durst. “It was a disappointing loss since Oakland finally lost and we could have pulled into a tie for 1st if we’d won.”



#249

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Youngstown State Dusts Up Phoenix
By Steve Porter

Youngstown State jumped out to an 13-2 lead over visiting Wisconsin-Green Bay last night. But the Phoenix pulled ahead 21-20 with 7-1/2 minutes left in the half. The Penguins then surged to a 46-33 halftime advantage as they forced the Phoenix to turn the ball over 13 times in the half. C Will O’Neil scored 14 and pulled down 6 boards.

The Penguins maintained a double-digit lead throughout most of the 2nd half. By gaining a 22-9 turnover advantage and a 32-27 rebounding advantage, the Penguins won with easy 89-81 to remain in a 2nd place tie in the Horizon League.

C Will O’Neil had a double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds. PF Aaron Tice dropped in 14 points, SG William Swan hit for 11, and SF James Asbury and C Kent Jones both scored 10.



#250

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Another Strong Week by O’Neil
By Steve Porter

Will O’Neil, Youngstown State’s star freshman center, again was named both Horizon League Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week. In the two games played this past week by the Penguins O’Neil scored 44 points and grabbed 18 rebounds.



#251

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Movin’ On Up…
By Steve Porter

Last night the Penguins travelled to Fairborn, Ohio to take on the Raiders from Wright State. The Raiders went on a run midway through the first half and opened an 11 point lead. C Will O’Neil brought them back to within 3 but got into foul trouble with 5 minutes left in the half. But even with O’Neil riding the bench, the Penguins recaptured the lead with 3-1/2 minutes remaining in the first half. The half ended in a 40-40 tie, though. Centers Will O’Neil and Kent Jones both scored 8 for YSU.

In the 2nd half with the Penguins on top 47-45, the refs had tagged both Will O’Neil and his replacement, Kent Jones, with 3 fouls apiece. With 11:37 to go, YSU went on top 61-51. The Raiders quickly reduced the lead to 6 but then faded and the Penguins opened a 15 point lead before settling for an 84-72 road win. Combined with Oakland’s loss, the win moved Youngstown State into a tie for the Horizon League lead.

C Will O’Neil topped all scorers with 21 points. SG William Swan contributed 17 and PF Aaron Tice added 11.

“Wright State took it to us in the first half and shot well all night. Fortunately we had an 18-10 turnover advantage that I think was a big part of the difference in the 2nd half. Our guys also shot phenomenally well from the free throw line (20 of 24),” said Coach KD Durst. “It’s nice to get back into a tie for first place in the league, but we have to travel to take on Oakland next week, so that’s gonna be a big challenge.”



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Penguins Sink Vikings
By Steve Porter

The 4th place Cleveland State Vikings visited last night. The Penguins played in a workman-like fashion in the first half and gradually pulled away. When the buzzer sounded ending the half, they were on top 38-26. C Will O’Neil dropped in 12 points. With both PF Aaron Tice and SF Colin Chambliss in foul trouble, Lee Pauly filled in at both positions and scored 9 points and pulled down 4 rebounds.

The Penguins came out on fire in the 2nd half and rapidly expanded their lead to 23 points. Playing strong on both ends of the court, YSU sunk the Vikings 82-62. 

C Will O’Neil hit for 28 points, SG William Swan had 12, PF/SF Lee Pauly had 11 points and 8 boards, and PF Aaron Tice scored 10 and also pulled down 8 rebounds. Two Vikings fouled out trying to stop Will O’Neil, thus sending him to the line 19 times. If he had been hitting from the foul line (he only dropped in 8 of those 19 attempts), he would have scored 30+ points. O’Neil hit 10 of 12 from the field as Cleveland State was unable to keep him from driving to the bucket.

“That was a nice tune up for our next game against co-league leader Oakland this coming Monday,” said Coach KD Durst.



#253

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Horizon League Names O’Neil Freshman of the Week
By Steve Porter

Youngstown State’s Will O’Neil scored 49 points in the Penguins two games last week which earned him another Horizon League Freshman of the Week award. O’Neil is now averaging 19.7 ppg and 7.1 rpg in the 25 games the Penguins have played this season.



#254

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The Battle for Horizon League Honors
By Steve Porter

Last night Youngstown State travelled to Michigan to take on the Oakland Golden Grizzlies. Both teams were tied for the league lead with only one game remaining after last night’s battle so this was a critical test for both teams.

The Penguins scored the first 4 points of the game, but the refs then called 5 fouls against YSU in the first 3 minutes of play sending 2 players to the bench. Oakland pulled ahead 13-6 after 7 minutes of play. As the fouls mounted against the visiting Penguins and additional players were relegated to the bench, the Golden Grizzlies were able to maintain a small lead until late in the half when YSU crept ahead by a single point twice. The half ended, though, with Oakland on top by a narrow 41-40 margin. C Will O’Neil was high point man with 11.

Youngstown State scored the first 7 points in the 2nd half, but Oakland came right back to keep things close. With 8 minutes left in the game the Penguins led 59-55. YSU then scored the next 7 points. But the Golden Grizzlies again bit back and with 3 minutes remaining had reduced the Penguins’ lead to 66-59. YSU then took care of business to come away with a decisive 74-64 victory that catapulted them into sole possession of first place in the Horizon League.

The win was due to a tightening of their defense in the 2nd half that reduced Oakland’s shooting percentage for the game to 39% and dominance on the boards (39-26) plus a determination once they had the lead to not relinquish it.

C Will O’Neil scored 21 plus grabbed 7 boards and blocked 4 shots. PG Pat White added 11 while PF Aaron Tice had a double by scoring 10 and pulling down 10 rebounds.

“We really wanted this one. Oakland edged us out on our home court earlier this season and we wanted payback,” said Aaron Tice. “And, of course, there was the added incentive of playing head-to-head for control of first place in the league standings. We felt like the refs took the game away from us in the first half, so during halftime we committed to turning things around in the 2nd half and we did it! We’re really stoked.”

Coach KD Durst added, “I’m proud of how the guys played tonight. They could easily have folded in the first half, but absolutely never let down. Now we have to get focused on winning our last regular season game this Thursday against UIC. We can’t afford a letdown.”



#255

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Penguins Regular Season Ends
By Steve Porter

When the Youngstown State Penguins took the court for their final game of regular season against the UIC Flames, their mission was simple. Win the game and they would have a three-repeat atop the Horizon League standings. But if they lost it, they would finish in a 3-way tie with Detroit and Oakland, both of which had won their games earlier in the day. UIC came into the game wanting to win to help soften the disappointment of a disappointing season in which they came into the game with a 6-11 record in the league and 7-19 overall. On the other hand, the Penguins wanted revenge for their worst loss of the season, an 84-69 beatdown earlier this season on UIC’s court, a game in which UIC’s starting guards (Gary Cunningham and Bret Maloney) combined to score 40 points. A large crowd was on hand to see how the Penguins would fare.

Coach KD Durst started all 4 seniors (PG Lenihan Murphy, SF William “Doc” Worley, PF Aaron Tice, and C Kent Jones) on the team, three of which typically are not starters. After falling behind 8-3, the Penguins came back to take a 22-16 lead with 10-1/2 minutes left in the half. UIC struck back to take a one point lead a few minutes later, but then the Penguins applied an impermeable defense that allowed them to go ahead 46-27 with 1 minute left. The half ended with YSU in command by a 46-31 score. The Penguins outshot the Flames 58% to 46% and held a 13-7 turnover advantage. SF Colin Chambliss led the scoring for YSU with 11 points. C Murry Ravenel scored 15 for UIC.

Youngstown State scored the first 8 points of the 2nd half to open a 23 point lead with 15 minutes to play. The Penguins went on to annihilate UIC 76-51. With that win Youngstown State finished the regular season with a 21-6 record and in first place in the Horizon League with a 14-4 record.

Leading scorers for YSU were C Will O’Neil and SF Chris Chambliss with 14 points. SF James Asbury added 12 and SG William Swan had 10. O’Neil also had 8 rebounds and 4 steals. C Murry Ravenel finished with 20 points for UIC.



#256

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Penguins Ready for Horizon League Tournament
By Steve Porter

Earlier this past week, the Youngstown State Penguins finished their regular season with their 5th straight win culminating a successful 21-6 record and 43rd best RPI of all Division I teams as well as a first place finish in the Horizon League. That means they enter the Horizon League Tournament as the #1 seed.

“We’re looking forward to playing in the tournament. We all realize that whatever teams we end of paired against will want to knock off the #1 seed. So that means we need to turn up our intensity for each and every game,” said senior PF Aaron Tice.

The Penguins averaged 77.6 ppg (35th highest in the country), 34.9 rpg (45th in the nation), 6.3 bpg (39th in the nation), and 12.1 topg (21st best in the country). Defensively they allowed just 67.9 ppg (48th lowest in the nation) and forced 16.9 topg (24th best in the country).

Here’s my grading of the starting 5 for the Penguins:

PG Pat White is averaging 8.0 ppg and 5.7 apg (tops in the Horizon League). These rate well, but he gets a B+ since his shooting percentages have been subpar.

SG William Swan is averaging 8.2 ppg and 2.5 apg. Overall strong play but again his shooting percentages only allow a grade of B.

SF Colin Chambliss averaged 9.6 ppg and 5.5 rpg. Excellent shooting percentages (48% of all FG attempts and 43% on 3’s). The only negative is that he not put up enough shots so his grade is an A-.

PF Aaron Tice averaged 9.5 ppg and 6.9 rpg (5th best in the Horizon League). His grade is also an A-.

C Will O’Neil scored 19.6 ppg (best in the Horizon League), 7.0 rpg (4th best in the league), and 1.2 bpg (5th best in the league). His only negative has been that he has dropped in just 59% of his FT attempts, but he still rates an A.

The bench gets an A-. Primary reserves have been PG Lenihan Murphy, SG B.J. Dennis, SF James Asbury, PF Lee Pauly, and C Kent Jones, all of whom have been very able substitutes.

“We’ve had a good season. There was a little bauble about ¾ of the way through the season when we had that 3-game losing streak, but our guys got things back on track and have been playing well recently,” said Coach KD Durst. “But the league tournament is always tough. Not only have both Detroit and Oakland been playing extremely well in league play the entire season, but if the tournament is like normal, at least a couple other teams will come on strong and score some big upsets. So, no matter who we play, we need to be playing our best every time we go on the court.”

With the Horizon Tournament about to begin here is the final league standings:

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Dynasty Threads: 


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Horizon League Tournament—Day 1 
By Steve Porter

The first day of the tournament provided pitted the 4 bottom teams in the Horizon League against each other with the winners of the two games moving ahead to take on the top 6 teams in the league. 

#10 Milwaukee Panthers (8-19, 5-13) vs #7 Wright State Raiders (11-16, 7-11): In league play, these two teams split their series with each winning at home (Wright State by 9 points and Milwaukee by 4 points). Last night, Milwaukee quickly took control and by the end of the first half the Panthers had established a 40-24 advantage. The Raiders were even less successful at cracking Milwaukee’s defense in the 2nd half. The Panthers buried Wright State by a 70-43 final score as they outshot the Raiders 60% to 33%. C Eugene Danielson dumped in 28 points while pulling down 9 rebounds for Milwaukee. Top scorer for Wright State was C Jerald Johnson with 13 points.

#9 Northern Kentucky Norse (8-20, 6-12) vs #8 UIC Flames (7-20, 6-12): When playing on their home courts, both of these teams easily beat the other earlier this season. Neither team was able to pull away in the first half and Northern Kentucky took a 32-29 lead to the locker room. The 2nd half was equally close, but UIC crept by the Norse. The Flames ended up on top 70-67 due primarily to hitting 51% of their FG attempts compared to 42% by the Norse. Three players each scored 12 points for UIC: C Murry Ravenel and two reserves, Ronald Serraville and Jarod Gaither who scored their combined 24 points even though they were on the court for a combined 19 minutes. PF Matt Darby led the scoring for Northern Kentucky with 15 points.



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Horizon League Tournament—Day 2
By Steve Porter

Eight teams took the court yesterday in games that would send 4 teams on to the semi-finals. Fans for each team flocked into Detroit’s Joe Lewis Arena to root for their teams. With bands blaring, cheerleaders leading cheers, and fans making noises of all kinds, the joint was rocking. Here are the results:

#5 Cleveland State Vikings (9-18, 9-9) vs #4 Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix (16-11, 10-8): On their own court, the Phoenix drubbed the Vikings and then won in overtime when playing at Cleveland State. Wisconsin-Green Bay jumped out on top and never trailed in this game. By the half the Phoenix were ahead 50-31. Wisconsin-Green Bay cruised through the 2nd half to top Cleveland State 81-64. SF Pete Richmond had a double-double for the Phoenix with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Cleveland State’s PG Michael Smith scored 11 to top their scoring.

#6 Valparaiso Crusaders (13-14, 7-11) vs #3 Oakland Golden Grizzlies (16-11, 13-5): Oakland beat Valparaiso twice this season by double-digit advantages. Oakland opened a 16 point lead during the 1st half, but Valparaiso narrowed the deficit to 39-33 at the half. The game remained close throughout the 2nd half with Oakland coming away with a 70-65 victory over the Crusaders. For Oakland, PG Gary Johnson tossed in 22 points. Valparaiso’s PG Jack Ray scored 15.

#10 Milwaukee Panthers (9-19, 5-13) vs #2 Detroit Titans (17-10, 13-5): Detroit won both games against Milwaukee during the regular season with ease. Milwaukee applied a defense that squashed the Titans in the first half. The Panthers led 40-28 at the break. Detroit made some runs in the 2nd half but was never able to catch up. Milwaukee upset the Titans 77-69. C Eugene Danielson had his 2nd straight big offensive game, scoring 24 points. SF Dwayne Poge topped the scoring for Detroit with 15 points. 

#8 UIC Flames (8-10, 6-12) vs #1 Youngstown State Penguins (21-6, 14-4): Each of these teams beat the other by big margins when playing on their home courts. The Penguins 15-point loss to the Flames was the last in their 3-game losing streak about 5 weeks ago while their 25-point win was just over a week ago in their final game of the regular season capping a 5-game win streak. The question left hanging was who would prevail on a neutral court?

Youngstown State shot well early and took a 16-8 lead 7 minutes into the game. Midway through the half the lead shrunk to 2 points, but then the Penguins took control to go ahead 37-24 with 4-1/2 minutes remaining in the half. UIC hit some late shots but YSU was able to hang onto a solid 44-32 halftime advantage. The Penguins outshot the Flames 58% to 36%. SF Colin Chambliss led the scoring for YSU with 9 points. SG Gary Cunningham and his replacement Ronald Serraville scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, for UIC.

With Will O’Neil on the bench with 3 fouls at the beginning of the half, the Flames cut the lead to 8 points. But the Penguins were able to re-establish a double digit lead. With 7 minutes remaining, YSU was on top 71-54. The Penguins continued to pressure the Flames and expanded their lead to as much as 25 points. Youngstown State crushed UIC 81-60. The Penguins completely dominated the boards 47-28 and held a 16-10 turnover advantage. SF Colin Chambliss had a double-double (15 points and 11 rebounds) and C Will O’Neil also scored 15 while pulling down 8 rebounds. PG Pat White scored 10 and dished out 9 assists. SF James Asbury came off the bench to score 10. PF Aaron Tice scored 9 and hauled down 10 boards. After scoring a combined 21 points in the first half, SG’s Gary Cunningham and Ronald Serraville were held to a total of just 4 points in the 2nd half with Cunningham topping UIC’s scoring with 15 points.

“We got good solid play from the entire team today,” said Coach KD Durst. “With Will O’Neil in foul trouble throughout the game, forcing us to judiciously play him, others came on to pick up our offense. We played well defensively throughout the game and our control of the boards was key to our win. It was great to get a victory, but this time of year winning means that its time to begin focusing on winning our next game.”



#259

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Horizon League Tournament—Semi-finals
By Steve Porter

Three favorites and one underdog made it to the league semifinal games yesterday. The big surprise being that #10 seed Milwaukee had won their first two games in the tournament including a big win over #2 seed Detroit.

#10 Milwaukee Panthers (10-19, 5-13) vs #3 Oakland Golden Grizzlies (17-11, 13-5): Oakland beat Milwaukee twice this season, but one win was by just 4 points. In last night’s game, Milwaukee took and early lead and edged away throughout the 1st half, finishing the first 20 minutes with a 37-30 advantage over the Golden Grizzlies. The Panthers then steadily increased their lead in the 2nd half and finished strong to give Milwaukee a 74-57 shellacking of Oakland. The Panthers held Oakland’s shooting to 39% while they hit 54% of their shots. Milwaukee also held a 33-24 rebounding advantage. PG Shantay Toliver broke out with 26 points. PF Keanan Cole scored 15 for Oakland.

#4 Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix (17-11, 10-8) vs #1 Youngstown State Penguins (22-6, 14-4): Youngstown State won both regular season games against Wisconsin-Green Bay. There were a lot of Penguins fans at last night’s game in Detroit. Even though YSU took a 7-1 lead, C Will O’Neil was called for 2 fouls in the first 2-1/2 minutes of play, sending him to the bench. The Penguin lead had risen to 14-1 before the Phoenix hit their first field goal at the 14:52 mark. YSU continued to apply pressure and with 9:49 remaining in the half, they led 31-8. The half ended with the Penguins on top 44-22. YSU hit 59% of their shots compared to just 28% by the Phoenix. The Penguins also had a 12-6 turnover advantage. SF Colin Chambliss dropped in 11 points.

The Penguins stingy defense continued throughout the 2nd half. Even though YSU’s shooting cooled, they still were able to pull further away. Youngstown State decimated Wisconsin-Green Bay and won 76-44. Wisconsin-Green Bay’s shooting was limited to 30% and YSU held a 17-7 turnover advantage.

Even though he was on the court just 13 minutes, C Will O’Neil scored 14 points. PF Aaron Tice scored 13. SF Colin Chambliss hit for 11 plus grabbed 9 boards. PG Pat White also scored 11 and dished out 7 assists. SG B.J. Dennis had 11 points. SG Josh Abraham finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

“Our defense was stellar tonight,” said Coach KD Durst. “Now we have to play the Cinderella team of the tournament for the championship. Not only has Milwaukee had 3 upset wins, but they’ve been burying their opponents. So we’ve got to ignore their record and realize that we’re going up against a team that is peaking.”

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Horizon League Tournament—Championship
By Steve Porter

Few would have predicted that the championship game would have the #1 seed up against the #10 seed. But both teams have dominated in their tournament games, so something had to give when they came up against each other.

#10 Milwaukee Panthers (11-19, 5-13) vs Youngstown State Penguins (23-6, 14-4): The Penguins beat the Panthers twice this season by nearly identical scores, 92-69 and 92-66. But Milwaukee won by 27 over Wright State and then easily handled #2 seed Detroit and #3 seed Oakland. C Eugene Danielson had 2 huge offensive games and then PG Shantay Toliver was an offensive juggernaut in their other win.

The Penguins shot well early taking to take a lead that was reduced as the refs called a series of fouls against YSU sending the Panthers to the line frequently. With 5-1/2 minutes to go, Milwaukee took its first lead at 24-23 after converting two foul shots. The Penguins immediately recaptured the lead and went on a 12-0 run. The half ended with YSU holding a 37-28 lead. The Penguins’ defense limited Milwaukee’s shooting to 27%. PF Aaron Tice scored 9 points. C Eugene Danielson scored 14 for the Panthers.

The refs again tagged Youngstown State with a series of fouls early in the 2nd half and Milwaukee cut the lead to just 5 points. The Penguins scored 17 unanswered points giving themselves breathing room with a 56-34 lead. YSU then never let up and continued to pull away as their defense stymied the Panthers. When the buzzer sounded, Youngstown State had stomped Milwuakee 81-53 to win the Horizon League Championship. YSU outshot the Panthers 54% to 33% and held a 22-10 turnover advantage. 

PG Pat White had a double-double with 17 points and 10 assists as well as getting 3 steals and 2 blocks. C Will O’Neil and PF Aaron Tice both scored 13. SF Colin Chambliss added 11. C Eugene Danielson scored 18 for Milwaukee.

“Milwaukee made a couple runs that put a scare into us, but each time it was gut-check time for our guys and they responded with huge runs that gave us solid leads,” said Coach KD Durst.

PF Aaron Tice exuberantly exclaimed, “We’re going back to March Madness! We’ve accomplished all but one goal now. We focused on every game we played and have won 24 games thus far, we finished in 1st place in the league standings, and we won the conference tournament. We’re likely to be viewed as underdogs in the NCAA Tourney, so now we just need to crank off some upset wins there.”






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