YOUNGSTOWN - Jerry Slocum - a seasoned coach who has 678 victories in his storied career - expects a standard from his players that doesn't waver.
He wants them to always play with intensity. Not for 10 minutes, not for 20 minutes, but for all 40 minutes.
"There's a level of play that I expect, whether we're playing a great team like Eastern Kentucky, at UMass, a foe like tonight, or whoever," Slocum said after Wednesday's game against Thiel College. "There's a level of play I expect from our guys - one through 14. For me, I'm going to coach everybody for the full game time."
Don't get him wrong, he was pleased with his team's performance during the first half of the Youngstown State University men's basketball team's 82-58 victory over Thiel at the Beeghly Center.
Six players scored in double figures - led by Kamren Belin's 13 points. Shawn Amiker had 12 points off the bench, while D.J. Cole and Ryan Weber each had 11. Bobby Hain and Kendrick Perry had 10 points apiece. The last time YSU had six players in double figures was against Loyola - a 92-85 overtime loss on Feb. 4, 2010.
YSU shot 51.5 percent in the first half and 49.2 percent for the game, but the sticking point for Slocum was his team had different types of valleys during the second half that were unacceptable.
"I was happy with the way we started, not happy with the way we ended," said Slocum, whose team improved to 5-1. "I'm just being honest about it. I thought we came out and moved the ball well early in the game. I thought we shared the game. I thought we shared it. I thought we guarded great. Got a chance to play a lot of people."
YSU played 13 players against Thiel.
"We're very excited to watch them play," Belin said of the Penguins' bench, which outscored the Tomcats 27-13. "Coach wasn't too happy with the way they played, but it was a good thing they got in and got to experience that in front of the home crowd."
Belin, whose team outscored Thiel 20-2 to start the game, said his he doesn't overlook a non-Division I opponent like the Tomcats (1-2). Eric Mallinger, Luke Kochka and Khari Bess each scored 15 points in the loss, while Charlie Thomas came off the bench for 10.
"For me, it's easy," Belin said. "I'm focused on every game. It's a step to get better every game."
Saturday, YSU hosts Westminster - another non-Division I team - Saturday at 11:15 a.m.
"I'm happy with the win, but there's a standard of play I expect from our guys," Slocum said. "I don't think we got that in the last 10 minutes of play from a group that needs to be able to play better."
YSU WOMEN CAPTURE FIRST VICTORY: YOUNGSTOWN After an 0-2 start, the YSU women got off the schneid by beating Northern Kentucky in the opener of Wednesday's doubleheader, 67-53.
The Penguins (1-2) got some much-needed guard play as Karen Flagg and Liz Hornberger each scored 11 points. Flagg paced her team with seven rebounds.
More importantly, YSU shot exponentially better from 3-point range. In the Penguins' previous two games, they were a paltry 11 percent.
Wednesday, the Penguins were 11 of 19 from that range. Also, YSU shot 39 percent from the floor and had a season-low 14 turnovers.
YSU had 50 turnovers in the previous two games.
Heidi Schlegel paced the Penguins with 22 points.
The Penguins, who play Bucknell on Nov. 26 at 7 p.m., held the Norse (2-2) to 32 percent from the floor.