Youngstown State (15-13) at Valparaiso (16-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 22, 4 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) -- Valparaiso, Indiana. Television: SportsTime Ohio. Home Record: YSU 11-3, Valpo 10-4. Away Record: YSU 2-10, Valpo 5-8. Neutral Record: YSU 2-0, Valpo 1-0. Conference Record: YSU 6-7, Valpo 8-5. Series Record: Valparaiso leads, 28-9.
GAME NOTES: The Youngstown State Penguins shoot for just their third true road win of the season this afternoon, as they go up against the Crusaders of Valparaiso in Horizon League action at the ARC.
YSU, which does have a pair of wins on a neutral floor, is hoping to capitalize on a pair of home wins over the past week when it takes on the Crusaders. After losing four straight outings, the program took down Illinois- Chicago last weekend, 59-56, and then shocked Milwaukee in overtime two nights ago, 88-83. With six wins in 13 league attempts, the Penguins find themselves in the middle of the standings.
As for the Crusaders, they too were playing on Thursday night, but in their case they came up short versus league-leading Green Bay on the road, 67-53. The defeat snapped a brief two-game win streak for the squad and left it at 8-5 in league play.
Valpo won the first meeting of the season last month by a score of 74-71 at home, which means the all-time series now stands at 28-9 in favor of the Crusaders.
Kendrick Perry erupted for a career-high 35 points as the Youngstown State Penguins posted a five-point overtime win against the Milwaukee Panthers in Horizon League action at the Beeghly Center two nights ago. Perry, who converted 11-of-17 from the floor and 5-of-9 behind the 3-point line, also accounted for nine rebounds, five assists and four steals. Kamren Belin and Bobby Hain both tallied 14 points, the latter pulling down nine boards, followed by DJ Cole with 11 points and nine assists for the hosts. The Penguins finished the night shooting 53.3 percent from the floor and produced a 39-27 rebounding advantage.
One of only two players to have started every game for the Penguins, Perry paces the program in scoring with his 21.0 ppg, shooting both 50.4 percent from the floor and 73.0 percent at the free-throw line where he has been a mainstay for much of the campaign. Belin (11.5 ppg) and Hain (11.2 ppg) also lend a hand on offense, the latter stepping up with a team-best 7.2 rpg to keep YSU involved in the paint.
Green Bay was on a mission to secure at least a share of the Horizon League's regular-season title on Thursday versus Valpo and the Phoenix made that happen by limiting the visitors to just 36.2 percent shooting from the floor and outscoring the Crusaders at the free-throw line, 22-5. Jubril Adekoya and Alec Peters were the only players for Valparaiso to score in double figures as they dropped in 11 points each, while LaVonte Dority responded with nine points on a mere 3-of-13 shooting from the floor.
Despite the poor shooting display by Dority the other night, he is still the overall leading scorer for the program with 16.7 ppg, stemming from his 44.4 percent accuracy behind the 3-point line and 84.7 percent effort at the charity stripe. Peters checks in with another 11.8 ppg, combining with Dority to account for 103 of the unit's 199 made 3-pointers, and that has helped the program to generate 74.1 ppg and outscore the competition by 6.5 ppg.
YSU may have landed in the win column the last few times out, but a quick turn-around and a battle on the road against a league opponent that is trying to get back on track is probably too much for the Penguins to overcome.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Valparaiso 71, Youngstown State 65
02/22 11:03:44 ET