Youngstown State

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Youngstown State

Postby Commissioner » Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:10 pm

Youngstown State
When Friday, December 28, 2:00 p.m.
Where Beeghly Center, Youngstown State
TV: ESPN+
Radio: AM 910 Superstation

Mike Davis has said all along that the non-conference season was about getting ready for conference play, and conference play to be ready for the conference tournament. For the Titans this may be especially true: as has been said repeatedly, Davis had never even seen two-thirds of his scholarship players before school started. The Titans were behind in practice, in Division I experience, and in talent.

Now comes show time, as conference play starts Friday at Youngstown State. The Titans enter the Horizon season on a 6 game losing skid and a dismal 3-9 overall. And yet… with seemingly less talent on the roster, that 3-9 mark is comparable to the 2-10 and 4-9 marks of the last two seasons, against a more difficult schedule. The Titans played a stretch of ball in late November—basically 3 and three-quarter games—in which they looked quite good. We’ve got the #3 scorer in the nation. Reinforcements have arrived in the form of forward Harrison Curry and point guard Eric Riley. Who knows—we may yet see Willie Isiani this year.

The conference schedule is set up to get the Titans off to a good start, with road games against two other Horizon second division teams, Youngstown State and Cleveland State, and then 5 straight home games. If we’re going to make any noise at all in the HL, we should know by the time that stretch ends with the Oakland game on January 19. But we’ll take ‘em one at a time, and that starts with YSU.

A couple years ago in my season previews I remarked that YSU’s reason for being in the HL is to finish last. Most conferences have such a team—think DePaul in the Big East, Northwestern in the Big 10, Fordham in the A10, Wake Forest in the ACC. When these teams get competitive from time to time, it throws the whole conference out of whack. The relatively predictable wins and the chance to rest the regulars a bit are lost. Anyway, YSU fill that role in the Horizon. It’s a bit odd, given that they’ve got a solid I-AA football program and do well in many other sports.

When Jerrod Calhoun was hired 20 months ago, a new “can-do” spirit seemed to infuse YSU. It’s way too early to write off Calhoun, who still strikes me as a good choice for YSU, but now, a season and a half later, signs of progress are hard to come by. The Penguins finished tied for 8th in the HL last year, with an 8-24 overall record, their worst record since 2005. Several of the best returning players chose to transfer after the season. This year, they’re 4-9 overall, but just 2-9 against D1 competition, the worst in the conference. They rank 305th nationally in the NCAA Net formula—lower in Sagarin and KenPom rankings.

Like Detroit, YSU has used a number of starting combinations this year. Although they’ve had no serious injuries, 10 different players have started games.

The Penguins’ anchors are sophomores Naz Bohannan and Garrett Covington. Bohannan, an All-Freshman team player last year, is second in the Conference in rebounding at 9.2 per game, which places him 45th nationally. Bohannan is not a big scoring threat but he’s a good passer and stays out of foul trouble. Covington, a big (6’ 5”) guard, is the team’s leading scorer, at 12 points per game. Meanwhile, the only player besides Bohannan to start all 13 non-conference games is freshman guard Darius Quisenberry. He’s been a nice surprise, averaging over 10 points on the season, and led YSU with 17 points last time out, a 19 point loss to Ohio State.

The other starters against Ohio State were senior forward Noe Anabir (making his 3rd start), and junior forward Antwan Maxwell (making his first). Guys who almost certainly will see major minutes are guards Devin Morgan, Kendale Hampton, Donel Cathcart, and Jelani Simmons, and forward Olamide Pedersen. Coach Calhoun goes deep to the bench, and it’s never certain just who will get the call. Altogether, 13 players average at least 8 minutes per game, although they don’t all play in every game.

YSU is a woeful shooting team, both overall and, important given the Titans’ zone, from three. Bohannan, the team leader in minutes played, isn’t what you’d call a “stretch” forward, and has taken just 7 three pointers all year. The three guards who are next in minutes played—Covington, Quisenberry, and Morgan—all shoot below 28% from behind the arc. The guy who can heat up out there is Kendall Hampton, a junior from the juco ranks. Hampton tends to be all or nothing—in games against Pittsburgh, Columbia, Robert Morris, and Western Michigan, he was a combined 22-39 from three; but in the team’s other 9 games he is 5 for 30 from out there. If he’s hot, they’ll ride him—he made 7 threes against Columbia and Robert Morris. If he’s not, Calhoun has probably seen enough Titan film to know the formula—use the Penguins size advantage and try to throw over the zone to the baseline. The problem for YSU is that their big players just aren’t scorers. We’ll have to hope Hampton is cold. Other three point threats are freshman Jelani Simmons and junior Donel Cathcart.

When the Titans are on offense, I don’t think YSU has anyone who can guard Antoine Davis. Morgan is quick enough, but at 5-10 he gives up a lot of size. The other guards may not be quick enough. But the 6-9 freshman Pedersen is a serious defensive force in the paint, so I look for YSU’s big guards to crowd Davis on the perimeter and count on Pedersen as backup if Davis (or McFolley) get around the first line of defense. YSU is also turnover prone so hopefully the Titans can get some points in transition.

Detroit and YSU have played two common opponents, with similar results: YSU was beaten soundly by Western Michigan and lost by 29 to Akron.

One guy who probably won’t see the floor is a name Detroit area basketball fans know well: John Sally, Jr., son of the former Piston. He’s a walk-on, but he is also YSU’s tallest player at 6-11, and he has played in 6 games. They may give him a shot given the Titans’ lack of corresponding height.

McFolley Watch: Despite a scoring drought of late (Josh has just 26 points in his last 4 games), Josh now needs just 6 points to pass Frank Russell for 26th spot on the Titans all-time scoring list. (Of course, Russell did it in the days of no freshman eligibility and just 25 games a year—he played 75 total games as a Titan; where as this will be Josh’s 106th). A big night—30 points—would allow Josh to finally crack the top 25 all-time Titan scorers.

Josh also needs 3 steals to tie Ray McCallum for 4th on the Titans’ all-time list. Steals became an official stat category in 1976. And Josh can move into the top 10 all-time for free throw percentage if he has a little streak at the line—a 4-4 night from the stripe would do it, moving hm at least temporarily past Gerald Smith and into 10th spot in the Titan record book.

Likely Youngstown Starters
PG: Darius Quisenberry, 6-1 Fr. (10.5 ppg, 2.7 apg)
SG/SF: Garrett Covington, 6-5 Soph. (12.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg)
F: Antwan Maxwell, 6-7 Jr. (4.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
F: Noe Anabir, 6-8 Sr. (1.9 ppg)
PF: Naz Bohannan, 6-8 Soph. (6.9 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 3.3 apg)

Key Reserves
PG: Devin Morgan, 5-10 Jr. (8.8 ppg, 2.8 apg)
SG: Kendall Hampton, 6-3 Jr. (9.2 ppg, 39.7% 3PtFG)
SG: Donel Cathcart, 6-5 Jr. (7.9 ppg, 33.3% 3PtFG)
SG: Jelani Simmons, 6-5 Fr. (4.5 ppg, 37.5% 3PtFG)
C: Olamide Pedersen, 6-9 Fr. (3.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.5 bpg)
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Re: Youngstown State

Postby Tacitus651 » Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:39 pm

Early line out of Vegas has us 1.5 point dogs. Should be a good game.
"Anything that can be done in college basketball can be done from right here.” - Coach Davis
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Re: Youngstown State

Postby The-Dude » Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:34 am

The 2018-2019 UD Titans: The little engine that could?
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Re: Youngstown State

Postby Titan Jim » Fri Dec 28, 2018 1:22 pm

What is the correct time for today’s game? ESPN+ shows game time as 7:00 PM, while everyone else shows 2:00 PM.
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Re: Youngstown State

Postby Tacitus651 » Fri Dec 28, 2018 1:29 pm

Titan Jim wrote:What is the correct time for today’s game? ESPN+ shows game time as 7:00 PM, while everyone else shows 2:00 PM.


Ugh, you’re right! I wouldn’t be surprised if someone at ESPN goofed by listing the wrong time on the ESPN+ page and the feed isn’t available at 2pm. So far, I haven’t been terribly impressed with ESPN+. If they miss our first conference game I’ll be hella pissed.
"Anything that can be done in college basketball can be done from right here.” - Coach Davis
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Re: Youngstown State

Postby ptctitan » Fri Dec 28, 2018 2:43 pm

ESPN+ also shows our women's game vs YSU starting at 2 pm instead of at 5 pm.
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Re: Youngstown State

Postby Commissioner » Fri Dec 28, 2018 2:51 pm

2:00 for men.

Anyone else at the game?
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Re: Youngstown State

Postby Titan Jim » Fri Dec 28, 2018 3:45 pm

OK. I can’t watch game on my Apple TV or iPad. But, I can on my iPhone (with ESPN app). It will not let me stream game to TV. I do have ESPN+ subscription. ESPN made me declare my location in settings. This leads me to suspect that live broadcast is blacked out in some areas. This is beyond ridiculous.
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Re: Youngstown State

Postby Tacitus651 » Fri Dec 28, 2018 3:51 pm

When the game started I could watch on my iPad but the screen wouldn’t expand which was annoying. It stated working on my Roku about a minute into the game.
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Re: Youngstown State

Postby theroundsquare » Fri Dec 28, 2018 4:02 pm

I'm sitting at my desk in Birmingham and it's working fine on ESPN+, though I've definitely had issues with the service too. Up by 11 at halftime.
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Re: Youngstown State

Postby ptctitan » Fri Dec 28, 2018 4:04 pm

I had no problem watching the first half. It may have been a case of the wrong link. Problem at ESPN+ today.
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Re: Youngstown State

Postby Titan Jim » Fri Dec 28, 2018 4:06 pm

Working on Apple TV now.
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Re: Youngstown State

Postby TitanVoiceofReason » Fri Dec 28, 2018 4:28 pm

1st Half stats show we are playing the type of game Coach Davis wants. Our best scorers (AD, Josh, King & Curry) are carrying the scoring load and best of all we only have 3 turnovers to YSU's 10. Go Titans!
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Re: Youngstown State

Postby TitanVoiceofReason » Fri Dec 28, 2018 4:30 pm

Oh oh, YSU comes out strong in the 2nd half.
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Re: Youngstown State

Postby TitanVoiceofReason » Fri Dec 28, 2018 4:54 pm

Lamar Hamrick is the whole team - jumper, layup, rebound.....what doesn't he do!!! :D

we're up 66-60 when I wrote this...….

3 pointer by Josh assist by none other Mr. Hamrick!
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Re: Youngstown State

Postby theroundsquare » Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:04 pm

Up by 11 now with under 2 minutes to play. Our shots started to fall again/we figured a way around YSU's tightened-up D.
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Re: Youngstown State

Postby Rogobob77 » Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:10 pm

All alone in first place!
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Re: Youngstown State

Postby TitanVoiceofReason » Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:16 pm

First place does sound good or as Titan Jackie Gleason would say "How sweet it is!"
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Re: Youngstown State

Postby TitanVoiceofReason » Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:27 pm

The 3 Stars of the Game
chosen by Tony Paul ;)

1. Antoine Davis
2. Lamar Hamrick
3. Donel Cathcart

*Tony Note ......it's much more funner to select the Game's 3 Stars when the Titans win!
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Re: Youngstown State

Postby Commissioner » Fri Dec 28, 2018 7:46 pm

I think I was the only Titan fan in Beeghly this afternoon. If there were others, I didn't see them. A few observations:

- The Titans still have a devil of a time with a full court press. McFolley especially seems lost as to how to combat it. As in the Kent State game, YSU made up a lot ground quickly with the press. But this time the Titans were able to right the ship in time.

- It's nice to see how much teaching goes on on the sidelines. Coach talks very harshly to these kids at time, but it's always to a purpose. I don't know that our coaching is strategically better than in the recent past, but tactically, it is much better. We make a lot more in-game corrections and improvements.

- Having knocked Josh just above, he's still a key guy on this team. With the Titans up 3, he hit a big three late in the clock that started the Titans closing 12-3 run. After Josh's 3, YSU was never again within one possession.

- I didn't like to see Antoine miss the front end of a one and one, and Lamar a pair of free throws, in the final minute. The game was pretty much over at that point, but YSU still had a slim shot, and you count on your star to sink those free throws and close it out. In fairness, though, Hamrick and Davis had already more or less iced it, Lamar with two big foul shots at about 1:45 to play (off a one & one), and Antoine with a deep three at just over a minute to play, after the Titans had milked about 25 seconds off the clock. That put the Titans up 14 and probably sealed it. And Hamrick was just generally crucial in the final 10 minutes.

- Derrien King does a lot of little things that don't show up in the box scores and are easily missed on TV. At least he did today. He works very hard. And he made some big shots early and another with about 9 to play-- a three that put the Titans back in the lead after YSU had briefly gone ahead. That was after a sequence in which he blocked a shot and in doing so forced a shot clock violation at the other end. If King had a quicker release on his jump shot, like Antoine, he could score bushels of points.

- Chris Brandon makes a lot of mistakes and is very erratic, but things happen when he's in there. He's very athletic and the whole team just seems to play better when Brandon is on the floor. He could be a huge player for us in a year or two.

- Curry is a nice player. A guy like that who can play inside or outside is very valuable. I'm hoping that he is still rounding into game shape and is going to be more consistent and a bit sharper.

- I attended some of those Titan sell-outs in the 1970s, and much as I'd love to have them come back, and have us playing in the Big East or at least the A10, I have to say that there are some offsetting pleasures to Horizon League ball, and I try to remember them at game time. Like today. I pulled into Youngstown at 1:52 p.m., parked on the street across from campus, and was inside in minutes. Beeghly is nothing fancy--it's a bit of a glorified high school gym-- but you're close to the action, and when the upstairs is blocked off (as it frequently is and was today) it can get really loud. Calhoun has all of his players back next year, and his best players are freshmen and sophs. YSU may get better.
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