Published: Monday, November 20, 2006
Penguins win home opener over Rockets
Youngstown is 2-2. Slippery Rock was playing its first game.
By PETE MOLLICA
YOUNGSTOWN Youngstown State put on a shooting exhibition Sunday night, as the Penguins successfully opened the home portion of their schedule with a 95-57 win over Slippery Rock at the Beeghly Center.
The Penguins (2-2) hit on nearly 60 percent from the field, shot 70 percent from 3-point range and 73.9 percent at the foul line against The Rock, which was opening its season against the Penguins.
"We shot the ball very well tonight," said coach Jerry Slocum. "I don't care who you're playing against when you're making 3-point shots and free throws like we did tonight I'm happy with that.
"It was a good game for us because we need a game that allowed us to give our younger kids some playing time, because down the stretch we're going to need them especially when we go out on the road again.
The Penguins next two road games are big ones as they travel to meet Michigan Wednesday and then play at Ohio State Friday.
"We scheduled these games to help us get ready for our conference schedule and that's what we're going to do, we just have to keep on going," Slocum said.
The Penguins put six players in double figures, led by senior Keston Roberts with 22 points, while sophomore Jack Liles added 16, junior John Barber 14, junior Byron Davis 14 and junior transfer George Cotal added 12.
Senior Quin Humphrey finished with 10 points and almost didn't get into double figures as he was going to be replaced when he went to the foul line with 4:30 remaining and he hit on one of two shots to get to double figures. He has now scored in double figures in 60 games during his 87-game career.
Cotal was a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point range, three of them coming in the final minutes of the contest.
The Penguins took command of the game early on running to a 45-21 halftime advantage and then continued to dominate The Rock in the second half.
YSU pulled to a 30-point margin with 7:14 remaining in the contest as Roberts connected on a 3-point shot for a 77-47 advantage.
Slocum emptied his bench during the final five minutes, but Cotal just kept the Penguins on track with his long-range shooting, his final two shots put the Penguins up by 40 points 95-55 before Slippery Rock got the final basket.
"Our bench is going to be the key to this season, because of the way we push the ball during transition," Slocum said. "That's why it was so good to get them some playing time tonight.
The Penguins shot a sizzling 62.5 percent in the first half against the Rock.
YSU took the lead for keeps with three free throws, two by Humphrey for a 7-4 advantage.
With a 11-6 lead, the Penguins then went on a 10-0 run including a pair of 3-point goals by Byron Davis to jump to a 21-6 lead.
YSU went into a full court press late in the half as they continued to pull away from Slippery Rock.
The took a 20 point advantage 36-16 with 4:18 remaining on a John Barber free throw and led 45-21 at intermission.
The Penguins will return home on Nov. 28 to meet Canisus, a game that is being returned for last season's Bracket Buster game.