Loyola-Chicago (15-15) at Youngstown State (16-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, March 5, 7:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Beeghly Center (6,500) -- Youngstown, Ohio.
Television: HLN. Home Record: Loyola 8-6, YSU 10-4. Away Record: Loyola 6-8,
YSU 6-8. Neutral Record: Loyola 1-1, YSU 0-2. Conference Record: Loyola 5-11,
YSU 7-9. Series Record: Youngstown State leads, 15-14.
GAME NOTES: Postseason basketball gets underway in the Buckeye State on
Tuesday night, as the Youngstown State Penguins entertain the Ramblers of
Loyola-Chicago in the first round of the 34th annual Horizon League
The Penguins, one of two current teams in the HL (Valparaiso) that has never
won the conference tournament, are the sixth seed in the event this year after
putting up a 7-9 mark in league action. However, YSU dropped two straight and
three of the last four games of the regular season as it gets ready for the
most important game of the campaign.
Meanwhile the Ramblers, who claimed the trophy back in 1985 versus Oral
Roberts when this was known as the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, are the
seventh seed this time around thanks to a 5-11 mark in conference play. One of
the youngest teams in the country, Loyola actually posted an eight-game
improvement over last season.
YSU owns a slim 15-14 advantage in the all-time series, sweeping the season
series by a combined three points to give the Penguins a four-game win streak
The survivor of this meeting will head to the second round of the tournament
on Friday where they will take on third-seeded Wright State.
Of the 11 league setbacks suffered by the Ramblers this season, more than half
(six) came by three points or less, so more often than not Loyola was
competitive right up until the end. One of two players to have started every
game for the program, Christian Thomas has been one of the most improved
players in the league this season with his 12.0 ppg and 6.5 rpg, shooting 56.3
percent from the floor. Now coming off the bench, Ben Averkamp is also
recognized as one of the top performers in the Horizon as he averages 14.9 ppg
and 6.4 rpg, although he might want to rethink his position as a 3-point
threat (.293). The Ramblers are scoring only 64.5 ppg on the season, but
that's still better than the 62.4 ppg they are allowing.
Right off the bat, the bad news for the Penguins is that they are without one
of their key performers in Kendrick Perry who is out with a knee injury. The
leading scorer on the team with 16.9 ppg, Perry is still the top man in terms
of assists as well with 112 and steals with 53, so not having him at both ends
of the floor hurts YSU. Damian Eargle is ready to go though, bringing his 11.8
ppg and 6.2 rpg along for the ride. Eargle is also one of the top interior
defenders in the league with his 86 blocked shots. Blake Allen (11.6 ppg) and
Kamren Belin (10.4 ppg) help to supply an offense that is producing 70.8 ppg
on the campaign, but still a lot of that had to do with Perry.
With a key figure unavailable, the Penguins might be hurting in this contest.
The fact that the first two meetings of the season were so close are also an
indication that Loyola is probably poised to exact some revenge on Tuesday
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Loyola-Chicago 66, Youngstown State 60
03/05 10:44:08 ET
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