DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 25th, 2:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Beeghly Center (6,500) -- Youngstown, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Detroit 12-4, YSU 9-3. Away Record: Detroit 4-8, YSU 6-10. Neutral Record: Detroit 1-1, YSU 0-0. Conference Record: Detroit 10-7, YSU 10-7. Series Record: Detroit leads 22-8.
GAMES NOTES: Two squads tied in the Horizon League standings will face off in a key regular season finale when the Detroit Titans travel to the Beeghly Center to face the Youngstown State Penguins.
Detroit had won five straight games before dropping a 77-64 decision to Cleveland State on Thursday. The loss put the Titans at 10-7 in conference action which is tied with Youngstown State and Milwaukee for fourth place, just a game back of Cleveland State and Butler.
Youngstown State downed Wright State 61-54 on Thursday night to end a losing skid in which the Penguins lost three of four games. The Penguins have the same 10-7 record in conference play as their opponent in this matchup but an inferior 15-13 overall mark.
When these squads met earlier this season it was Youngstown State that came out on the winning end as the PEnguins secured a 64-61 road victory over Detroit back on December 1st. The Titans still hold the all-time series advantage at 22-8 including wins in five straight previously.
Detroit was up 38-32 at the half against Cleveland State but saw its upset bid downed in the second half as the Titans shot a meager 29.6 percent from the floor overall in the contest while committing a game-high 14 turnovers.
Offensive woes like they had Thursday night have been rare for the Titans who are the highest scoring team in the Horizon League at 72.2 points per game. Detroit hasn't been able to turn the high powered offense into more wins because the defense has been lackluster (67.9 papg). Sophomore guard Ray McCallum (15.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.9 apg) has been not only the teams best scorer but the squads best all-around player as he also leads the team in assists and steals while pulling down the fifth most rebounds. McCallum scored only 13 points in Thursday's loss, taking a backseat to Chase Simon. The senior guard (13.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg) took a step above his role as second option to McCallum and scored 17 points while ripping down 10 boards for his second double-double of the season. Eli Holman (11.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg) is the teams best front court player although he does his damage primarily off the bench. Jason Calliste (10.2 ppg) is the fourth member of the squad averaging in double figures.
Youngstown Sate converted on just 44.9 percent of its shots from the floor Thursday against Wright State but limited the Raiders to only 32.1 percent while forcing a game-high 15 turnovers to capture the victory.
The Penguins can also boast one of the conference's better arsenals, as they are putting in 66.7 points per game which is third in the league. On defense the team allows 64.9 points per contest which gives Youngstown State a scoring differential of just +1.8. The offense has been so good thanks in large part to the play of the Horizon League's leading scorer Kendrick Perry. The sophomore guard (16.6 ppg) had 23 points on Thursday and has now scored in double figures in 10 straight games with six of those games over 20 points. The squad is heavily reliant on its starters as four other players on the team are scoring at or near double figures but no other player scoring more than 2.4 points per game. Blake Allen (13.2 ppg), Damian Eargle (10.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg), Ashen Ward (10.1 ppg) and DuShawn Brooks (9.3 ppg) fill out the scorers for the Penguins. Eargle is also a dominant defensive presence on the inside, blocking 4.0 shots per game which leads the conference and is third in the nation.
If this game just came down to which team can score at a higher rate, Detroit would be the easy pick. However, Youngstown State has the better defense and already beat the Titans on the road this season. With the added advantage of playing at home, the Penguins should be able to move up in the standings.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Youngstown State 70, Detroit 66
02/25 10:43:38 ET
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