The Milwaukee men’s basketball team gets set for its biggest regular-season game in over a decade, traveling to Ohio to take on Youngstown State in a battle of the two teams tied for first place in the Horizon League standings at 12-4. The Panthers have not been in first place this late in a season since the 2010-11 campaign and will look for the season sweep of the Penguins Thursday night. The matchup against YSU is set to tip off at 6 p.m. CST on ESPN+ and will have live statistics available.
LOOKING AT THE PENGUINS
Youngstown State is coming off a 19-15 overall record last season to mark the first time since 1982-85 that the Penguins posted three consecutive winning campaigns. The team went 12-9 in Horizon League play and was picked No. 5 in the preseason poll, along with Dwayne Cohill getting named Preseason All-Horizon League First-Team. Sixth-year head coach Jerrod Calhoun returned seven letterwinners and three starters to the floor in 2022-23 and did play in the postseason a year ago in The Basketball Classic. This season the team is enjoying the best winter in program history and, with another win, will set its NCAA Division I record with 21 victories. YSU is 20-7 heading into play and at 12-4, are also on the verge of setting a new record for league wins with another decision. The Penguins had won five in a row before seeing their streak snapped in most recent action, an 81-78 loss at Cleveland State Sunday. The team is at the top of the scoring chart in the league at 83.3 ppg and is connecting on 49.2 percent of all field goals. YSU is ranked in the Top 20 nationally in five different categories: seventh with 83.3 points per game, ninth with a 49.2 field-goal percentage and 77.7 free-throw percentage, 16th with a 55.8 effective field-goal percentage, and 20th with a 37.9 3-PT percentage. Cohill leads four players in double-figures with 18.1 ppg (fourth in the Horizon League). Brandon Rush (14.4 ppg), Malek Green (13.8 ppg), and Adrian Nelson (12.9 ppg) are close behind, with Nelson leading the way at 9.9 rebounds per game (tops in HL).
Milwaukee leads the all-time series by a count of 33-18 (which dates back to 1974), which comes out to 30-18 in the NCAA DI era. YSU does have the upper hand of late, claiming wins in six of the past eight meetings, including the four in a row prior to the 88-75 MKE win earlier this winter. A year ago, YSU claimed victories of 86-72 in Ohio and 70-68 in Milwaukee. Due to COVID scheduling, the two teams did not play each other the year prior.