Saturday, November 18, 2017

Carpenter's career performance powers Cleveland State past Coppin State

By Tom Mieskoski

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cleveland State head coach Dennis Felton was not concerned about the Vikings early shooting slump through the first two games.

'I knew we were a better shooting team that we showed the first two games," said Felton. "I kept reminding the team to move the ball, execute the offense and get high quality shots."

CSU shot a season-high 54.9 percent in an 80-56 victory against Coppin State on Friday night at the Wolstein Center to give Felton his first win with the Vikings.

The Vikings (1-2) tied the single-game school record for 3s with 14. They also shot season-highs in 3-point percentage (43.6) and free throw percentage (76.9).

Senior guard Kenny Carpenter had a career-high 26 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for his second double-double in three games. He also added three assists, three steals, and a block in 36 minutes.

"Kenny was ultra-aggressive and really got on a roll. He made the game easier for us the way he was hitting shots," said Felton. "He has worked harder then any of our guys since I got here in April. This summer he was in the gym three times a day."

The Detroit native is having a breakout year.  Carpenter came into the game leading the team in scoring (11), rebounding (nine) and field goal percentage (58.8).

Carpenter also had plenty of help from his teammates as six other Vikings scored at least seven points.

Freshman Stefan Kenic continued his stellar start to the season with 13 points, three rebounds and three assists. Senior guard Bobby Word added 12 points (two treys), while Kash Thomas added eight. Anthony Wright, Tyree Appleby and Jamarcus Hairston each had seven points.

DeJuan Clayton led Coppin State (0-4) with 20 points, while Adam Traore added 12.

Carpenter got CSU off to a fast start as he knocked down his first three 3-pointers to give the Vikings an early 11-2 lead.

"After I hit the second one I knew I was feeling it," said Carpenter, who was 10-of-17 shooting, including six treys. "My teammates kept looking for me and encouraging me to shoot it. So I kept shooting."

Carpenter's sixth 3-pointer extended the lead to 39-20.

At the half, Carpenter had already matched his previous career-high of 24 to give CSU a comfortable 41-24 lead. He was 9-of-13 shooting in the first 20 minutes, including 6-of-8 from 3-point distance.

The Vikings put the game away knocking down four 3-pointers during an 18-5 run to start the second half that pushed the lead out to 30.

Sloan misses game: Senior forward Derek Sloan missed Friday's game with what Felton called "chronic issues with his joints."

"He is day-to-day," said Felton. "When he does play he's really being a warrior because he's playing through discomfort and pain."

Sloan, who has started the first two games, has been limited to just 16 minutes through the first two games.

Wright starts: Wright made his first start of the season, replacing Sloan in the starting lineup.

"He has been playing well and he was a better line-up for us," said Felton.

Hales returns: After missing the first two games with a hamstring injury, senior guard Terrell Hales made his debut on Friday.

Hales had two steals and a block in 19 minutes.

"He's an extra possession guy," said Felton. "He adds to our depth and provides energy."

Mouse in the house: During the second media timeout, CSU recognized Ken "Mouse" McFadden

McFadden, one of the stars of CSU's 1986 Sweet 16 team, is the all-team leading scorer in school history, amassing  2,256 points.

Felton thanks students:  Prior to the game, Felton shook hands and talked to the students section.

"I told them I was thrilled they were here," said Felton. "That's our biggest challenge here, to rebuilt our fan base and make it bigger then its ever been."

It was CSU's largest student turnout in years. Approximately 50 to 100 students sat mostly in the two sections behind Coppin State's bench.

Spider signs: Deante "Spider" Johnson, one of the top defenders in the state of Michigan, signed with CSU on Wednesday, the final day of the early recruiting period.

"He will really strengthen our defense and allow us to do more destructive things," said Felton. "He can defend one through five. He's very athletic, and plays above the rim."

The 6-foot-8 forward from Detroit averaged 16.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots last year for Edison Public School Academy.

Johnson joins Rashad Williams, a high-scoring guard from Detroit, in CSU's class of 2018.

Next up: CSU continues its swing in the Showcase on the Banks Tournament as they travel to East Carolina on Monday.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Cleveland State basketball blow 8-point halftime lead, loses Felton's debut

By Tom Mieskoski

AKRON, Ohio -- The Cleveland State men’s basketball team was unable to hold on to an eight-point halftime lead as Akron rallied for a 67-57 win Saturday evening in the opening game of the Northeast Ohio Coaches vs. Cancer Doubleheader at J.A.R. Arena.

CSU (0-1), playing its first game under new head coach Dennis Felton, led 30-22 at the break and led by as much as 10 early in the second half. Then it was all Akron

The Zips (1-0) used a 23-4 run to take a nine-point lead and never looked back.

CSU was outscored 45-27 in the final 20 minutes.

"We kind of fell apart when the momentum turned against us," said Felton. "In the second half, they wrestled away control with offensive rebounds and second shot opportunities. It was a poignant lesson learned for our team."

Freshmen guard Tyree Appleby led the Vikings with 13 points.

Senior guard Kenny Carpenter had his first career double-double, posting 11 points and 12 rebounds. Freshmen forward Stefan Kenic added nine points, while senior forward Derek Sloan contributed eight points in 11 minutes.

Daniel Utomi led three Zips in double-figures with 20 points. Eric Parrish added 17 and Jimond Ivey had 10.

It was a tale of two halves, as CSU controlled the entire first half by dominating the boards, but Akron took over in the second half, using its size advantage to control the boards.

Using a 23-16 advantage on the boards, CSU was able to play Felton's uptempo offense in the first half. They held a 6-2 advantage in fastbreak points.

The Vikings opened the game on a 24-12 run. A Parrish three-pointer closed Akron within eight at the half.

Appleby carried the Vikings offense in the first half, scoring nine points on 4-of-8 shooting. Four other Vikings scored at least four points.

CSU's defense held the Zips to 26.7 percent shooting in the first half, including 5-of-16 from three-point distance. The Vikings shot 41 percent.

Akron controlling the boards in the second half, 30-15, and minimized CSU's uptempo offense.. The Vikings only had two fast break points in the final 20 minutes.

"They were aggressive going to the glass," said Felton. "We didn't match their aggression and physicality in the second half."

Foul trouble also turned the game in Akron's favor. The Vikings, which only committed three fouls in the first 20 minutes, were in the bonus before the first media timeout of the second half.

Akron shot 35.1 percent in the second half, but were 18-of-21 from the free throw line. CSU shot 38.5 percent in the final 20 minutes and struggled at the charity stripe, going 6-of-19.

As good as Appleby was in the first half, he struggled in the final 20 minutes.  The Arkansas native made only one of his four shots and struggled at the foul line, going 2-of-7.

"He experienced some things for the first time that the only way you can get better and get over the hump is by going through those experiences." said Felton. "He's a much better shooter than he shot the ball tonight from both the three and free throw line. I don't think that will happen very often."

MACtion: For the second time in three years, the Mid-American Conference swept the Horizon League as Kent State spoiled Jerrod Calhoun's debut with a 111-78 blowout victory in the second game.

The MAC has won five of the six games since the four Northeast Ohio Division I schools have decided to play an annual NE Ohio Coaches vs. Cancer Doubleheader in 2015.

CSU will host the doubleheader next year at the Wolstein Center.

Highsmith suspended: CSU announced before the game that redshirt junior Dontel Highsmith, a NIU transfer, has been suspended for the first three games for a violation of team rules.

Williams signsRashad Williams, a high-scoring guard from Detroit, Mich, signed a National Letter of Intent with CSU earlier this week.

"He's a very potent offensive player," said Felton. "He's such a dynamic guard that can really shoot it with deep range. He can also score off the bounce and is a terrific playmaker. He's going to be a terrific player for us."

A 6-foot-3 point guard, Williams averaged 24.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 6.7 assists at Wayne Memorial High School last year.

Felton said he is hopeful that CSU will sign another player in the early signing period, which ends on Wednesday.

CSU also has a verbal commitment from Uros Plasvik, a 7-foot-1 power forward/center from Serbia, who's prepping at Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga, Tn.

Next up: CSU opens the Showcase on the Banks Tournament at Rutgers on Tuesday.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Felton showcases up-tempo offense in Cleveland State's 78-68 exhibition win over Cedarville

By Tom Mieskoski

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Not much is expected of Cleveland State basketball this year.

But, at least, they will play an exciting new style of  play.

New head coach Dennis Felton showcased his uptempo offense in CSU's 78-60 exhibition victory over Cedarville Thursday night at the Wolstein Center.

The Vikings held a 16-0 advantage in fast break points.

"We want to be very aggressive on offense and play as fast as we can (to get easy transition opportunities to score)," said Felton.

Kenny Carpenter led four Vikings in double-figures with 16. Freshmen Tyree Appleby added 15 off the bench. Bobby Word contributed 14 and NIU transfer Dontel Highsmith 11.

"We have to score as a gang," Felton said. "We have to attack as a team, share the ball and give us quality shots."

The Vikings dressed only 10 players as Kash Thomas (concussion), Derek Sloan (multiple ailments), Terrell Hales (hamstring) and Devin Stover (flu) did not dress.

For most of the game, Felton used an eight-man rotation.

"We don't want to be eight deep, but under the circumstances we are," said Felton. "I'm hoping we'll have some guys back (for the season-opener at Akron next week)."

Hales is out 2-3 weeks, while Thomas and Sloan are day-to-day.

The starters were Word, Carpenter, Highsmith, freshmen Stefan Kenic and Evan Clayborne, with Appleby, Anthony Wright, and Jamarcus Hairston coming off the bench.

The Vikings used an 8-0 advantage in fast break points in the first half to take a 39-33 lead at the half.

CSU shot 51.7 percent in the second half to extend the lead to as much as 22.

Scary moment: Prior to the game, Stover was sent to the hospital with what Felton called "an episode before the game."

"We found out after the game that's he's doing well," said Felton.

Felton said Stover has been dealing with flu-like symptons for the past 10 days and practiced for the first time yesterday.

Scary moment II: Word limped off the court with 5:56 left in the game and did not return.

"He cramped up," said Felton.

Scary moment III: Mid-way through the second half, Highsmith hustled to run down a loose ball and collided with a couple of empty courtside seats. He was slow to get up, but stayed in the game.

Up next: CSU opens the season at Akron on Nov. 11.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Cleveland State basketball adds second commitment

A week after landing point guard Rashad Williams, the Cleveland State men's basketball team added a second recruit in the class of 2018.

Serbian center Uros Plavsic committed to Dennis Felton and the Vikings last week, according to 247 Sports.

Plavsic averaged 4.5 points and 2.3 rebounds per game last season for KK Smederevo where he was a teammate of CSU's Stefan Kenic.

The 7-foot-1, 215-pounder from Ivanjica, Serbia will play his senior year at Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga, TN.

CSU has four scholarships left for 2018.

Felton said on media day that CSU is look to sign two combo guards, two wings and two forward/bigs.

The early signing period starts next week.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Cleveland State men's basketball lands first recruit of 2018 class

Photo: Courtesy of Rashad Williams' Twitter account.
The Cleveland State men’s basketball team has landed its first recruit in the class of 2018.

Point guard Rashad Williams announced on Thursday that he has verbally committed to play for the Vikings in a ceremony at his high school.

"I picked Cleveland State because it just seemed like the best fit," Williams told "I really got along with the coaching staff and really felt the coaching staff was genuine.

"To be honest with you, I talked with coach (Dennis) Felton the most. He was in contact almost every other day, texting me just to see how stuff was. It was stuff even outside of basketball like school and family. That's big for me."

Williams, 6-foot-3, chose the Vikings over Kent State, Toledo, Evansville, Miami (OH), St. Bonaventure and Detroit.

As a junior, Williams averaged 22.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game leading Wayne Memorial High School (MI) to their first ever KLAA Conference championship.

The Vikings have six scholarships to offer in 2018.

Green & White scrimmage: The CSU men's and women's basketball teams will hold its Green vs. White scrimmage on Saturday morning in the auxiliary gym of the Wolstein Center.

The Green vs. White scrimmage is free to the public. The women's basketball team's scrimmage will begin at approximately 10 a.m.. The men's scrimmage will begin at approximately 10:45 a.m.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Top Target Off the Board

One of Cleveland State's top basketball targets is off the board.

Highly-touted big man Tamell Pearson committed to UAB on Monday after visiting campus this past weekend.
Pearson, a three-star recruit, had CSU among his top six finalists. He chose the Blazers over CSU, Missouri State, Murray State, Oklahoma State and Washington State.

ESPN rates the Chicago native as the third best prospect in Illinois and the 80th-best center in the class of 2018.

CSU is still looking for its first recruit in the class of 2018. They have six scholarships to fill.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Darius Quisenberry lists Cleveland State in top five

Darius Quisenberry named Cleveland State among his top five schools.

Quisenberry, a 6-foot point guard from Wayne High School in Huber Heights, Ohio, is also considering Robert Morris, Youngstown State, Wright State and Northern Kentucky.

247Sports rates Quisenberry as a two star recruit and the No. 78 point guard in the nation. Prep Hoops Ohio lists Quisenberry as the No. 8 prospect in Ohio's class of 2018.

CSU has six scholarships to fill in the class of 2018.

The Vikings are also a finalists for Tamell Pearson, a 6-foot-8 forward from Morgan Park High School in Chicago.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Stover, Payne joins Vikings roster

Cleveland State welcomed its largest freshmen class this week when students returned to campus for the start of the fall semester.

Among the 2,000 freshmen enrolled at CSU was former St. Ignatius standout Deven Stover.

Stover, a Solon native, will join the men's basketball program as a preferred walk-on, CSU head coach Dennis Felton announced on Tuesday.

"We're excited to add a local player of Deven's ability to our program," Felton said in a written statement. "Deven enjoyed an outstanding career at Cleveland St. Ignatius, which culminated in an epic game against Garfield Heights in the regional semifinals in the Wolstein Center. Deven has terrific size, strength and versatility that allows him to fill many roles in our positionless system of basketball. I look forward to coaching him and helping him grow."
Stover is a 6-foot-5 wing.  He originally committed to Navy, but reopened his recruitment in April after spending one season at the Naval Academy Prep School.

During his prep year, Stover led the team in scoring (13.5 ppg) and assists (5.0).

Stover was a four-year letterwinner at St. Ignatius. He earned team MVP honors as a junior and senior and Best Offensive Player Award distinction in each of his final three seasons.

As a senior, Stover led St. Ignatius in scoring with 16.4 points per game and helped the Wildcats to the regional finals in 2016.

Payne joins program:

On Wednesday, Felton announced that David Payne has joined the men's basketball roster as a preferred walk-on.

Payne, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Malcolm X (Junior) College in Chicago, will have two years of eligibility left with the Vikings.

"David is a great athlete who brings good size, physicality and experience,"Felton said in a written statement. "He had an accomplished career at Malcom X Community College and is extremely serious and motivated. I look forward to working with him and watching his teammates lead him to get up to speed with what it means to be a Viking."

A Evergreen Park, IL native, Payne averaged 13.7 points per game last year for the Hawks.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Cleveland State offers free tickets to home opener

Cleveland State is rewarding fans who voted for Magnus in Mid-Major Madness Mascot Melee Championship round with a voucher for two free tickets to its men's basketball home opener against Coppin State on Nov. 17.

Fans interested in obtaining a voucher can e-mail Carrie Neville at and include a screen shot of your vote and your Twitter handle.
Opening as a 14th seed in the Midwest Region, Magnus pulled off stunning upsets of UIC's 'Sparky,' Ohio University's 'Rufus,' South Dakota State's 'Jack', 'Rufus' from Dayton and 'Bill the Goat' from the U.S. Naval Academy in the semifinals.

In the championship round, Magnus was edged out by Scrappy of North Texas who pulled in 51 percent of the vote in a Twitter poll.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Cleveland State among finalist for Tamell Pearson

Photo courtesy of
Class of 2018 Morgan Park (IL) power forward Tamell Pearson announced his final six schools on Wednesday, and Cleveland State made the cut.

The other finalists includes Missouri State, Murray State, Oklahoma State, UAB, and Washington State.

Pearson, a three-star recruit, is rated the third-best prospect in Illinois by ESPN and the 31st best power forward nationally.

The 6-foot-8 Pearson is a native of Chicago and played AAU basketball this summer for Mac Irvin Fire.

In a free story over at, here’s what Pearson had to say about each of his six finalists:

Cleveland State:  “They promised me a lot of opportunity to expand my game at the next level. Being able to come in and contribute my freshman year.”

Missouri State:  “They told me I can be a great player in their system. They have been recruiting me very hard from the very beginning.”

Murray State:  “They came in during the middle of the process and told me that I would be great in their system.”

Oklahoma State:  “They have been in there from the very start. They have been recruiting me for a long time. I really love the school and the atmosphere.”

UAB:  “They are a great school. They are recruiting me the hardest out of everyone. I love the coach. They call me every day and check up on me. I will be able to contribute there my freshman year.”  

Washington State:  “The coach comes from Chicago and knows a lot about me. They came in late during Vegas. I really love the research I did about their school.”

CSU has six scholarships to fill in the class of 2018.