Youngstown State (4-0) at Massachusetts (2-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 17, 1 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mullins Center (9,493) -- Amherst, Massachusetts. Television: None. Home Record: YSU 1-0, UMass 1-0. Away Record: YSU 1-0, UMass 0-0. Neutral Record: YSU 2-0, UMass 1-0. Conference Record: YSU 0-0, UMass 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAMES NOTES: Before a three-day stint in the Charleston Classic next week the Massachusetts Minutemen will tangle with the Youngstown State Penguins in a non-conference bout at the Mullins Center.
The Penguins have been pretty busy during the opening week of the season with four games played already. Each of those contests has ended in a win for the Penguins, who dropped Kennesaw State (73-57), FIU (74-72) and Eastern Kentucky (75-67) during the three-day Kennesaw State Tournament and then blasted USCAA foe Warren Wilson, 104-58, in their home opener on Thursday. This is just the second true road test for the Penguins this season. Last year Youngstown State fought to a 6-8 mark away from home.
Although they have had fewer opportunities the Minutemen have also yet to lose. The Minutemen took care of LSU, 92-90, as part of the College Hoops Tip- Off Marathon on Tuesday after dropping Boston College (86-73) in the season opener last Sunday. At the Mullins Center last year, the Minutemen weren't unbeatable but they were still a solid 10-5, including a 5-2 mark in non- conference play.
Sunday marks the first meeting between these programs.
Warren Wilson did not present a problem for the Penguins. Youngstown State shot 54.4 percent from the field and knocked down 10-of-26 shots from beyond the arc. The Penguins also forced 18 turnovers, while being guilty of only five miscues themselves.
Kendrick Perry, a skilled 3-point shooter and versatile scorer overall, has been leading the charge for the Penguins. He is averaging 21.5 points per game over the first four contests and has knocked down 10-of-27 shots from beyond the arc. Perry didn't need to be as explosive against Warren Wilson but he still tied for a team-high with 18 points. Perry has also been a solid facilitator, dishing out 18 assists already. Ryan Weber (13.3 ppg) has been on the end of some of those passes as the team's second-best scoring option. Weber is also an adept shooter from beyond the arc, netting 12-of-27 from 3- point range. Kamren Belin (12.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and Bobby Hain (10.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg) have been contributing well on offense and on the glass, while Marcus Keene (8.5 ppg) has been the most important reserve.
As the final score indicated, the Minutemen fought tooth and nail with LSU on Tuesday. The difference for UMass came in free-throw shooting as it was able to convert 28-of-40 attempts. In fact, the Minutemen made more free throws than the Tigers attempted (25).
Chaz Williams (22.0 ppg, 6.0 apg) has hit the ground running for the Minutemen. His efforts have come as no surprise as the 5-foot-9 guard has proven to be a prolific scorer and willing distributor throughout his career. Williams dropped in 24 points against LSU and also handed out nine assists as he narrowly missed a double-double. Cady Lalanne (21.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg) came back to earth against the Tigers but still had a solid game with 16 points and six rebounds. The Minutemen's center had 27 points and 12 rebounds against Boston College. Teaming with Lalanne in the frontcourt are Sampson Carter (14.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and Raphiael Putney (8.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg), who have each been steady contributors in the early going. Both scored in double figures on Tuesday with Carter netting 17 points, while Putney nearly registered a double-double (14 points, nine rebounds).
One of these teams will be taking its first loss of the year on Sunday. Though they have had success early on, the Penguins will be that squad, as the Minutemen present a greater challenge than any of the Penguins' first four opponents.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Massachusetts 81, Youngstown State 63
11/17 10:33:26 ET