YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown State University men’s basketball team is hoping for one more big crowd at the Beeghly Center Wednesday night.
The Penguins will make their first appearance in the NIT when they host top-seeded Oklahoma State on Wednesday.
Watch the video above to hear from the team as they prepare for the Cowboys.
“Great team,” said YSU head coach Jerrod Calhoun. “They play in the best league in America. They’re one of the best defensive teams in the best league in America. Their coach is really, really good. I follow that league. I watch that league. I’ve got a lot of friends in that league, so I understand what they’re about. They’re big, they’re physical, they’re tough. They’re a great team. It’ll be the best team we’ve played all year.”
A post-season tournament home game came as a surprise to the Penguins. Oklahoma State, despite being the number one overall seed, was forced to play on the road due to a scheduling conflict with their home arena.
“Man, it’s God,” said Penguins senior guard Bryce McBride. “I remember I posted something on Instagram like, this was a beautiful way to end my last game at Beeghly because Detroit Mercy, emotions were high and it was packed, standing room only, but now we’re playing a Big 12 team here at Beeghly. Man, that ain’t nothing but God man. That’s all I can say. It’s a lot of emotions.”
“We’re certainly the underdog. You’ve got to embrace that,” said Calhoun. “Oklahoma State has got great tradition, great conference, great coaching. But our guys have to go out there and compete at a high level on both sides of the ball. So we’re not going to sugarcoat it. We know if we lose, we’re done. We want to keep playing. Our kids want to keep playing.”
Youngstown State (24-9) and Oklahoma State (18-15) will tip off Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Beeghly Center. The winner will advance to play either Washington State or Eastern Washington in NIT Second Round.