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Detroit (10-5) at Youngstown State (9-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 10, 7:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Beeghly Center (6,300) -- Youngstown, Ohio. Television: MyValleySports. Home Record: Detroit 9-0, YSU 4-1. Away Record: Detroit 1-5, YSU 5-3. Neutral Record: Detroit 0-0, YSU 0-2. Conference Record: Detroit 2-0, YSU 1-1. Series Record:Detroit leads, 24-8.
GAME NOTES: The Detroit Titans look to stay in first place as they square off with the Youngstown State Penguins in a Horizon League tilt at the Beeghly Center.
After a slow 2-4 start to the season, the Titans closed out their non- conference slate with five wins and just one loss at Syracuse (72-68). Detroit kept the momentum rolling into Horizon League action where they took down Milwaukee and Green Bay. Wright State is the only other team left in the Horizon League without a loss to a conference foe and the Raiders picked up their third decision on Wednesday with a rout of Cleveland State. Detroit's success comes from its excellence on offense as it is producing 77.3 points per game, which is the 35th best mark among Division I schools.
Youngstown State notched its third win in four outings on Saturday with a surprising and thrilling 68-66 road victory at Loyola Chicago. The contest gave YSU its first conference win and Loyola its first conference loss. The Penguins, who are 4-1 at home this year, are second among conference teams behind Detroit with 72.5 points per contest.
The Titans own a 24-8 advantage in the all-time series and have won seven of the last eight games.
The engine to the Titans' efficient attack is junior floor general Ray McCallum. The star point guard drove the team to a win its last time out by delivering 26 points, swiping four steals, and grabbing six boards to propel Detroit past the Phoenix. The starting five accounted for all the squad's 84 points in the contest as Jason Calliste scored 20, Juwan Howard, Jr. added 16 points, Doug Anderson had 12, and Nick Minnerath finished with 10. Detroit made only 7-of-24 field goals in the second half but was able to seal the victory by sinking 28-of-29 free throws after halftime. McCallum has stepped up his play as he leads the Horizon League in scoring (18.9) and assists (4.5). Calliste is second in scoring with 13.5 ppg, while the other three starters also carry double-digit scoring marks.
The Penguins faced a big deficit in the second half after they fell behind early due to poor shooting. The Ramblers led by as many as 14 points but the Penguins used a 10-1 run in the final minutes, capped off by Kendrick Perry's game-winner to take home the victory. Damian Eargle paced Youngstown State (9-6, 1-1 Horizon) with 20 points and six blocks before fouling out. Perry added 18 points and Kamren Belin had 13 points. Just as YSU trails only Detroit in scoring among Horizon League schools, Perry only trails McCallum with 16.5 ppg. Eargle appears on the conference leaderboard in multiple categories as he is 10th in scoring (12.3), second in rebounding (6.8), and is in outright control of first place in blocks (3.5).
YSU's record is not a great indicator of how good it actually can be. The Penguins could easily have four more victories as they lost in overtime twice and also fell in a pair of regulation games that went to the wire. One play could have changed the outcome of any of those contests. Detroit has been very impressive itself, but it will need to start closing out games to compete for the regular-season crown.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Detroit 71, Youngstown State 68
01/10 10:34:04 ET