Penguins Visit Valparaiso in Crucial Horizon League Match Up

For the first time in nearly a month, the Youngstown State men's basketball team will hit the road to take on old Mid-Continent Conference nemesis Valparaiso, Thursday, Jan. 14. Tipoff is slated for 8:05 p.m. EDT. The game will also be broadcast live on 570 WKBN AM.

Opening Notes

• This is the 28th meeting between Youngstown State and Valparaiso in a series that dates back to 1989. Valparaiso owns a 20-7 lead in the all-time series and has won the last eight contests. Last season, the Crusaders swept the season series from the Penguins with a 68-57 win at the Beeghly Center and a 67-59 win at the Athletics-Recreation Center in Valparaiso, Ind. Youngstown State's last win over Valparaiso was a 55-49 victory on Jan. 15, 2000. The last time YSU won at the ARC was a 69-66 decision on Jan. 24, 1998.

• Youngstown State Head Coach Jerry Slocum is one of 18 active coaches with more than 600 career victories. He currently ranks seventh among active Division I coaches with 628 career wins.
• Valparaiso Head Coach Homer Drew is another 600-win coach and has 608 career coaching victories.
• The Guins are coming off a thrilling 71-67 win over Loyola on Jan. 9. Senior DeAndre Mays led the Penguins with a career-high 30 points while seniors Kelvin Bright and Sirlester Martin added 16 and 14 points, respectively. Senior Dallas Blocker's three-point play - his only points of the game - with 10 seconds left sealed the victory for the Penguins.
• Senior DeAndre Mays was named the Horizon League Player of the Week after averaging 22.5 points per game and shooting 50 percent from the field last week
• Over the last nine games, senior Sirlester Martin is averaging 14.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game and shooting 50.9 percent from the field.
• Junior Vytas Sulskis has scored 730 career points and needs 270 more to become the 32nd player in school history to score 1,000 career points.

A Win Will
• Improve YSU to 8-8 overall and 3-4 in the Horizon League.
• Be the earliest date to reach eight wins since the 2006-07 season - an 81-63 win over Milwaukee on Jan. 13, 2007.
• Be the fourth time in the last five seasons the Guins begin league play with a 3-4 mark.
• Mark the best start after 16 games since 2000-01 when the Guins were 10-6.
• Mark YSU's eighth win over Valparaiso and its first since 2000.
• Mark YSU's first win at the Athletics-Recreation Center since 1998.
• Mark YSU's third road victory of the season.
• Mark Head Coach Jerry Slocum's 629th career victory and his 49th at Youngstown State.
• YSU's 983rd victory in the program's history.

Scouting Valparaiso
Valparaiso enters the game with a 6-11 overall record and a 1-4 mark in the Horizon League. The losers of three straight, the Crusaders own a 4-1 home record. The Crusaders have two of the Horizon League's top five scorers, including the league's leading scorer, Brandon Wood, who averages 19 points per game. Corey Johnson ranks fifth in the league at 16.1 points per game.

Last Time Out
The Guins are coming off a thrilling 71-67 win over Loyola on Jan. 9. Senior DeAndre Mays led the Penguins with a career-high 30 points while seniors Kelvin Bright and Sirlester Martin added 16 and 14 points, respectively. Senior Dallas Blocker's three-point play - his only points of the game - with 10 seconds left sealed the victory for the Penguins.

Mays Named Player of the Week
For the first time in his career, Youngstown State men's basketball player DeAndre Mays has been named the Horizon League's Player of the Week, the league announced Monday (Jan. 11). Mays averaged 22.5 points per game and shot 50 percent (14-of-28) from the field and 66.7 percent (6-of-9) from 3-point range and was named the Horizon League's Player of the Week. The Dallas, Texas, native led the Penguins to a 2-0 record last week and shot 84.6 percent (11-of-13)from the free-throw line. He is the 40th player in school history with a 30-point game.

Last Time at the ARC
In the last meeting at the Athletics-Recreation Center, Valparaiso defeated the Penguins 67-59 in the regular-season finale on Feb. 28, 2009. Sirlester Martin led the Guins with 13 points while DeAndre Mays added 11, but the Guins committed 19 turnovers in the loss.

Up Next
The Penguins stay on the road to visit No. 22 Butler, Saturday, Jan. 16. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m. at Hinkle Field House. YSU have played at least one nationally-ranked team in each of the last four seasons and owns a 1-21 record against ranked teams.

Slocum In Select Company
Youngstown State Head Coach Jerry Slocum is in some pretty elite company. Slocum, who has 628 career wins, is one of nine active Division I head coaches with more than 600 career victories and ranks seventh among that group.

Guins Improving From the Arc
Over the last two games, the Guins displayed they could knock down shots from beyond the 3-point line. Last week, the Penguins connected on 14-of-28 3-point attempts or 50 percent. Of the 14 3-pointers made, senior DeAndre Mays made six.

Guins Hit 90 Percent
In the 76-67 win over UIC on Thursday, Youngstown State shot an impressive 90 percent from the free-throw line connecting on 18-of-20 free-three attempts. It marked the first time this season the Penguins made 90 percent from the charity stripe. It is also the best free-throw shooting performance by the Guins since they shot 100-percent (17-of-17) against Butler (12/6/08).

Martin Steppin' Up
Over the last nine games, senior Sirlester Martin has played well for the Penguins. Martin is averaging 14.2 points and 6.9 rebounds while shooting at a 50.9 (47-of-95) clip. Martin scored 14 against Loyola (1/9), 12 against UIC (1/7), 15 against Cleveland State (1/2), 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.

Sulskis Nets 100 3's
With a 3-pointer against UIC, junior Vytas Sulskis is the 10th player in school history to make more than 100 career 3-pointers with 102. Sulskis, who has made 17 this season, made 39 3-pointers last season and 46 during his freshman campaign. He needs five more to move into ninth place and surpass Elmer Brown (106, 1998-99) with 107.

Rebillot Grabs Career High
Senior Zack Rebillot made his presence felt in the 76-67 win over UIC on Thursday evening. The Canton, Ohio, native grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds and added four points. Eight of his boards came on the defensive glass.

Perfect Penguins
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.

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 earlier this season and against Allegheny last year.

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 730 points, needs 270 more to reach 1,000. He scored in double figures in nine of 14 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),13 against High Point (12/22) and 17 against UIC (1/7).

Mays Had Big Game at Red Flash
Senior DeAndre Mays posted a then-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.

Last to Score 30
With 30 points against Loyola on Jan. 9, senior DeAndre Mays set a career-high and became the first player to score at least 30 points since Keston Roberts scored 31 against Detroit on Feb. 27, 2007. Mays performance is the 10th time under Jerry Slocum a player has scored at least 30 points in a game. YSU had just 10 30-point plus performances from Feb. 1988 to Dec. 2005.