The Youngstown State men's basketball team begins 2010 by hosting in-state and league-rival Cleveland State in its Horizon League home opener, Saturday, Jan. 2. Tipoff is slated for 7:05 p.m. at the Beeghly Center and is part of a women's and men's basketball doubleheader. The game will also be broadcast live on 570 WKBN AM.
• This is the 72nd meeting between Youngstown State and Cleveland State in a series that dates back to 1930. The Penguins own a slim 36-35 advantage in the all-time series, but Cleveland State has won four of the last five contests. The last time these schools met at the Beeghly Center Youngstown State came away with a 64-60 win in front of a nationally-televised audience on ESPNU.
• Youngstown State Head Coach Jerry Slocum is one of 17 active coaches with more than 600 career victories. He currently ranks seventh among active Division I coaches with 626 career wins.
• The Guins are coming off a disappointing 72-67 loss to Robert Morris on Dec. 30. The Penguins trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half and rallied to take a four-point lead late in the game before falling to the Colonials. Senior Kelvin Bright led the Penguins with 14 points while senior Sirlester Martin added 12 and sophomore Ashen Ward tied a career high with 11.
• Sirlester Martin was named the Horizon League Player of the Week for his efforts against High Point on Dec. 28. Martin just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. He also connected on 71.4 pecent of his field-goal attempts.
• Junior Vytas Sulskis has scored 708 career points and needs 292 more to become the 32nd player in school history to score 1,000 career points.
A Win Will
• Improve YSU to 6-7 overall 1-3 in the Horizon League
• Mark YSU's 37 win over Cleveland State and the second consecutive victory over the Vikings at the Beeghly Center.
• Mark YSU's fourth victory of the season at the Beeghly Center.
• Mark Head Coach Jerry Slocum's 627th career victory and his 47th at Youngstown State.
• YSU's 981st victory in the program's history.
Scouting Cleveland State
Cleveland State enters the game with an overall mark of 4-10 and a 0-2 in the Horizon League. The Vikings, who have lost four straight games, are led by Norris Cole with 16.0 points per game. Jeremy Montgomery and Trevon Harmon are also averaging in double figures with 10.9 and 10.6 points per game, respectively.
Last Time Out
The Guins are coming off a disappointing 72-67 loss to Robert Morris on Dec. 30. The Penguins trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half and rallied to take a four-point lead late in the game before falling to the Colonials. Senior Kelvin Bright led the Penguins with 14 points while senior Sirlester Martin added 12 and sophomore Ashen Ward tied a career high with 11.
Guins vs. Vikes Last Time in Beeghly
Four players scored in double figures to lead the Penguins to a 64-60 win over Cleveland State in front of 6,249 fans at the Beeghly Center and in front of a nationally audience on ESPNU. Jack Liles led the Penguins with 18 points while DeAndre Mays posted 16 points, Sirlester Martin scored 15 and Kelvin Bright added 10.
The Penguins' homestand continues when they host UIC, Thursday, Jan. 7, at 7:05 p.m. at the Beeghly Center.
Slocum In Select Company
Youngstown State Head Coach Jerry Slocum is in some pretty elite company. Slocum, who has 626 career wins, is one of nine active Division I head coaches with more than 600 career victories and ranks seventh among that group.
Ward Ties Career High
Sophomore Ashen Ward tied a career high with 11 points against Robert Morris on Dec. 30. Ward connected on 4-of-7 shooting from the floor and matched a career best with three 3-pointers. He also scored 11 points against Geneva eariler this season and against Allegheny last year.
Martin Named HL POW
Sirlester Martin was named the Horizon League Player of the Week for his efforts against High Point. Martin tied a career high with 20 points just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. He also connected on 71.4 pecent (10of-14) of his field-goal attempts.
Over the last four games, Youngstown State has been putting up solid offensive numbers. The Penguins are averaging 72.5 points per game while shooting 43.6 percent from the floor and 73.1 percent from the free-throw line and are 2-2 in those games. The Penguins' 50 points in the second half against High Point are the most in a half this season.
Two Penguins turned in a perfect fall semester academically. Senior Zack Rebillot and junior Vytas Sulskis each posted a 4.0 grade-point average last semester. Also, junior Tom Parks and sophomore Andy Timko each recorded a grade-point average of 3.0-or-higher.
Martin Steppin' Up
Over the last six games, senior Sirlester Martin has played well for the Penguins. Martin is averaging 14.5 points and 6.7 rebounds while shooting at a .507 (38-of-75) clip. Martin posted 12 points against Robert Morris (12/30), tied a career-high 20 points against High Point (12/22), scored 16 points against Saint Francis on Dec. 16, scored 16 points and had nine rebounds in a loss to Wright State on Dec. 5 and scored 14 points in a loss at Detroit on Dec. 3.
Mays Droppin' More Dimes
Senior DeAndre Mays has really been playing his style of basketball - score and distribute the ball - over the last six games. Mays, who had just 11 assists in the first six contests, is averaging 3.7 assists per game over the last six games. He is also averaging 12 points and 2.3 rebounds per game while shooting 80.6 percent from the free-throw line.
Sulskis Closing In on 1,000
Junior Vytas Sulskis is inching his way toward becoming the 32nd player in school history to score 1,000 career points. Sulskis, who has scored 708 points, needs 292 more to reach 1,000. He scored in double figures in eight of 12 games this season, including 12 against Xavier (11/13), 10 against Hiram (11/15), 15 against Kent State, 10 against Geneva (11/24),14 against Detroit (12/3), a season-high 17 against Green Bay (12/19) and 13 against High Point (12/22).
Mays Hits For Career High
Senior DeAndre Mays posted career-high 27 points in the Guins' 74-65 win over Saint Francis on Dec. 16. Mays connected on 8-of-18 field-goal attempts and 9-of-11 free-throw tries. He is the first player to score 27 points since Kelvin Bright scored 27 against Butler on Dec. 6, 2008. The last player to score 30 points was Keston Roberts scored 31 against Detroit on Feb. 27, 2007.
Sulskis Climbin' 3-Point Chart
With a 3-pointer against Robert Morris, junior Vytas Sulskis is in 10th place on the YSU all-time 3-pointers made list with 98. Sulskis, who has made 13 this season, made 39 3-pointers last season and 46 during his freshman campaign. He needs nine more to move into ninth place and surpass Elmer Brown (106, 1998-99) with 107.