FACTS & STATS: Site: Beeghly Center (6,300) -- Youngstown, Ohio. Television: None. CIT Record: Oakland 4-2, Youngstown State 0-0. Series Record: Oakland leads, 5-3.
GAME NOTES: The first round of the 2013 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament begins on Tuesday night, as the Youngstown State Penguins welcome the Oakland Golden Grizzlies to the Beeghly Center.
Despite losing three of its last four games, Oakland experienced a decent season in the Summit League, going 10-7 in conference and logging an even 16-16 mark overall. The Grizzlies are no strangers to the CIT, having previously qualified for the event in 2009 and 2012, while setting a Summit League record with three postseason wins last year in their run to the semifinals.
Youngstown State also finished the season on a sour note with three losses in its last four games, including a 66-59 defeat at the hands of Wright State in the second round of the Horizon League Tournament to dip to 17-15 overall. The Penguins are seeking their first-ever postseason win as a Division I squad in this matchup.
Oakland leads the all-time series with YSU, 5-3. The teams last met in December of 2003 with the Grizzlies winning, 70-67.
Oakland was ousted from the Summit League quarterfinals after suffering a 91-72 loss to IUPU-Fort Wayne, marking their third loss to the Mastodons in less than three weeks. The Grizzlies shot poorly from the field, making less than 36 percent of their total shots, and they were especially bad from 3- point range (8-of-32). Travis Bader was only 3-of-12 from long range, but still he finished with a game-high 18 points. Ryan Bass added 16 points, Dante Williams poured in 14, and Drew Valentine had 10 points in the losing effort. The Grizzlies typically don't have much of an issue putting up points, as they average 73.7 ppg, but their problem has been at the defensive end as they allow opponents to net 74.6 ppg. Bader's overall field goal percentage isn't strong (.391), but he leads the nation with 134 3-pointers and he is fifth in scoring with 21.9 ppg. Corey Petros brings stability to the frontcourt with 12.2 ppg and 8.2 rpg, while Duke Mondy (12.0 ppg, 5.1 apg, 3.0 spg) and Valentine (10.2 ppg, 6.6 ppg) are also crucial pieces to the puzzle.
The Penguins shot a modest 41.1 percent from the floor in their latest game, but what really hurt them in the seven-point loss were poor showings from both 3-point range (5-of-19) and the foul line (8-of-16). Kamren Belin did his best to keep the team in it with 20 points on a 4-of-7 effort from beyond the arc, while Damian Eargle and Kendrick Perry tallied 13 and 11 points, respectively. On the season, YSU is usually a more effective offensive squad with 70.2 ppg, and it also benefits from having a +1.9 turnover margin. There is no denying the fact that Perry is one of the Horizon League's top players, as he averaged 16.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.0 apg and 1.9 spg. Eargle is a force to be reckoned with in the paint with 11.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 3.2 bpg. Rounding out the balanced effort for the Penguins are Blake Allen (11.5 ppg) and Belin (10.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg).
Oakland can score with just about anyone, but unfortunately it also allows its fair share of points, especially on the road, and with YSU sporting plenty of quality playmakers itself, the Penguins should be able to find a way to outlast the Grizzlies in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Youngstown State 78, Oakland 72
03/19 10:39:28 ET
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