The Cleveland State men's basketball team ran into a buzzsaw last week in Indiana - losing both road games at Butler (79-56) and Valparaiso (64-58).
"When you have had two defeats like we had, you want to be back at it so you can regroup yourselves," said CSU men's basketball coach Gary Waters. "But for us, I think it's good [to have the weekend game] because in the Valpo game, I thought Norris (Cole) was tired. And he even told me that I don't have any legs."
In CSU's two losses last week, the Vikings turned the ball over an uncharacteristic 34 times (18 Butler, 15 Valpo), were outscored 38-2 (19-0 Butler, 19-2 Valpo) in bench points and committed 42 fouls (21 in each game).
"These were two tough games," Waters said. "The first game was just a tough, tough game for our team. We did not know the level of intensity that they were going to bring to that game. They came in with a large sense of urgency and you had to match that. We were not prepared to match that sense of urgency.
"In the Valpo game we missed a lot of lay-ups and we had a bad shot selection."
Entering tonight's game at Youngstown State, CSU (15-3, 4-2 Horizon League) are tied for third with Detroit and Wright State, a game behind first-place teams Butler and Valpo, who are both 5-1 in the Horizon League.
The Vikes will try to right the ship against a YSU team that has been a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type of team this season with two different split personalities.
The Penguins (7-9, 1-5) nearly pulled-off a major upset at Butler this past Sunday - They had an eight point lead with 12 minutes to go, but the Bulldogs went on a 16-2 run to take the lead.
Then there is the YSU team that has lost by 30 at Robert Morris, by 13 at Kent State, and by 30 at home against Loyola-Chicago - all teams CSU have beaten.
So which team will CSU face on Saturday?
"They will be up for this game," said Waters. "It reminds me of the game two years ago when we lost there with our team that went to the NCAAs. If (YSU) could win this game it's the biggest game of their lives.
"Our guys are going to really have to be focused. It's a very important game for us."
Waters on Youngstown State: "I think their strength is their offense. They shoot the ball well and this group has bought in to (coach Jerry Slocum) more. And I think that has allowed them to play better.
"They play zone a lot and make you have to shoot the ball. If you don't hit (the shots) they're in the game."
More playing time: Waters said sophomore guard Anthony Wells could play about "5-10 minutes" to give Norris Cole a much needed rest.
Wells, a Shaker Heights High product, has been limited to four games, totaling 15 minutes this season because of a knee injury.
"He's (Anthony Wells) starting to physically get his legs back," said Waters. "So if we can get him back that helps a little."
Brown update: The latest news on senior guard D'Aundray Brown is that he's doubtful to play this season.
"We still haven't made a decision on (D'Aundray Brown)," said Waters. "But it isn't looking favorable that he's coming back."
Cole moving up: Cole, who is currently seventh all-time on CSU's career scoring list with 1,568 points, needs four points to pass Theo Dixon (1,572 points, 1997-2002) for sixth all-time, and nine points to pass James Madison (1,576 points, 1996-2000) for fifth.
CSU women update: The CSU women (9-7, 2-3 Horizon League) are tied for seventh-place in the Horizon League standings with UW-Milwaukee, three games back of first-place UW-Green Bay (5-0).
Kate Peterson Abiad's squad have held serve at home this season (6-1), but have struggled on the road (3-6).
The CSU women will try to fix their road woes at Valparaiso (3-13, 0-3) on Saturday.
"We need to do all the little things right that's how you win on the road," Peterson Abiad said at this week's media gathering. "We need to control the tempo. We need to take care of the basketball better. We need to shoot the ball better and we need to make adjustments quicker."
More CSU women: The CSU women rank second in the Horizon League in scoring defense (60.7 points), third in field goal percentage defense (37.6 percent), and second in 3-point field goal percentage (28.8 percent), but Peterson Abiad says CSU "has a long ways to go" to become an elite defense.
"I think we are capable of being a tremendous defensive team," said Peterson Abiad. "I haven't always been 100 percent pleased with our intensity or effort on defense. Trying to sustain the kind of intensity on defense for 40 minutes when you only play seven kids sometimes has been a difficult task."
News and Notes: Cole was named one of 20 finalists for the 2011 Bob Cousy Award, which is given to the nation's top point guard.... The CSU men's basketball home game against Butler on Feb. 5 has been moved to a 12:00 noon start in order to accommodate a national broadcast on either ESPN or ESPN2.... Kailey Klein, the all-time leading scorer in CSU women's basketball history with 2,140 career points, visited the CSU women during their road game at Illinois-Chicago on Dec. 31.... Former CSU standout J'Nathan Bullock visited the men's team during the week that the Chicago teams were in town.