Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cleveland State 86, MVNU 40: Lewis Ties 3-Point Record in Vikings Victory

Coming off a loss to Bowling Green where Cleveland State shot 6 of 26 from three-point range, Vikings head coach Gary Waters made it an emphasize to go "inside out" against Mt. Vernon Nazarene.

"We wanted Trey (Lewis) to get his shots coming off screens and go inside to Anton [Grady]," said Waters.

The Vikings did just that as Lewis and Grady combined for 50 points in a 86-40 victory Monday night at the Wolstein Center.

Lewis scored a career-high 32 points, tying a team record with nine 3-pointers, held by Percell Coles.

The Garfield Heights product was 9 of 11 from three-point range. Lewis missed his first three-point attempt then made his next five threes. He made all four of his three-point attempts in the second half.

"This game was a by product of us trusting in each other," said Lewis. "That was one of the conversations we had in our last game. We need to play for each other. We weren't worried about who got the credit and as a result I got open shots."

Grady added 18 points and seven rebounds. He made eight of 12 shots from the floor - including several mid-range jumpers.

Andre Yates added eight points for the Vikings (5-5), while the bench provided 20.

CSU shot 50 percent in each half and finished 32 of 60 (53.3 percent) from the floor and 13 of 19 (68.4 percent) from the foul line.

They were 9 of 17 (52.9 percent) from three-point range.

CSU's tenacious pressure defense overwhelmed MVNU, a NAIA Division II program located in Mount Vernon, Ohio.

The Cougars (11-3) turned it over 28 times, which CSU turned into 30 points. They were held to 13 field goals and 28.9 percent from the floor.

"That pressure is called water pressure," Waters said. "And we are going to do that every game and keep the pressure on and hope we get enough turnovers and enough conversions to help us on offense because our offense has been questionable at times."

At the first media timeout, MVNU had turned it over six times as CSU jumped out to a 12-2 lead and never looked back. Grady made his first four shots and scored eight of CSU's first 12 points.

By the second media timeout, MVNU had 10 turnovers and only attempted three shots (1 of 3) from the floor. CSU started off making eight of its first 13 shots and took a 17-4 lead with 11:56 left.

At the half, MVNU turned it over 20 times and were held to 5 of 15 from the floor as CSU built a 43-16 advantage.

"I thought we played very good defense in the first half," said Waters. "At one point, we were holding them down to 37 percent and one of the officials came to me and said ' this is the best defense I ever seen'."

The Vikings shot 52.9 percent (18 of 34) in the opening half. Lewis (15 points) and Grady (12) paced CSU's offense in the first half.

Lewis' sixth three-pointer of the night extended the lead to 30 (48-18). Three minutes later, he drained his seventh three and three minutes after that he nailed his eight three to make it 63-20.

With 4:08 left, Lewis' sank his record-tying ninth three-pointer to extend it to 50 (82-32).

Martell Medley, a Euclid native, led the Cougars with 10 points.

Next up: CSU travels to No. 6 Virginia on Thursday.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Four Cleveland State Games To Air On SportsTime Ohio

CLEVELAND, Ohio (press release) - A total of four Cleveland State men's basketball games will be aired on SportsTime Ohio and Presented by Cedar Point this year as part of an agreement between CSU, Learfield Sports and SportsTime Ohio.

"Cleveland State aspires to get as many of our games on over-the-air television as possible," CSU Director of Athletics John Parry said. "I am pleased that SportsTime Ohio, Cedar Point and Learfield Sports have worked together to add these four games."

As part of the agreement, SportsTime Ohio will televise four Viking basketball games this year, starting with the Dec. 21 contest against San Francisco in the Wolstein Center. SportsTime Ohio will also air the game at UIC on Jan. 4, the home contest against Wright State on Feb. 7 and the game at Western Carolina on Feb. 17.

Al Pawlowski will serve as the play-by-play voice, while former Viking Pat Vuyancih, who played on CSU's Sweet 16 squad in 1986, will provide the color commentary of games.

Ed Daugherty will fill-in for Pawlowski on the radio broadcasts for the four games on SportsTime Ohio.

Learfield Sports is the multi-media rights holder for Cleveland State Athletics and its local, dedicated entity is Viking Sports Properties.

Cleveland State Men's Basketball Games on SportsTime Ohio

Sunday, December 21, 2014: 1:00 pm (ET) vs. San Francisco
Sunday, January 4, 2014: 4:00 pm (ET) at UIC
Saturday, February 7, 2015: 2:00 pm (ET) vs. Wright State
Tuesday, February 17, 2015: 7:00 pm (ET) at Western Carolina

In addition to the four games on SportsTime Ohio, CSU's home games against Milwaukee (Jan. 2) and Green Bay (Jan. 31) will be shown live on Time Warner Sports Channel.

The Vikings will also be seen on national television five times during the remainder of the season, beginning with the Dec. 18 game at Virginia on ESPNU. CSU will also be on ESPNU or ESPN3 at home versus Detroit on Jan. 23, on ESPN2 or ESPNU at Detroit on Feb. 13, on ESPN2 at Green Bay on Feb. 20 and on ESPNU against Valparaiso on Feb. 27 in the Wolstein Center.

Along with the televised games, Cleveland State is pushing all broadcasts of home games to the ESPN3 digital platform.

Courtesy of Cleveland State athletics

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cleveland State-BGSU preview

Cleveland State at Bowling Green

4 p.m. at the Stroh Center

Records: Cleveland State 4-4; BGSU  5-2

Line:  BGSU 4.0


Radio1220-AM The Word

Series: Series tied, 8-8.

Last meeting: CSU won 79-73 in the 2012 NIT Season TipOff tournament in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Toledo probable starters: G David Joseph (4.3 ppg, 3.7 apg), G Anthony Henderson (5.4 ppg), G Zack Denny (9.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg), F Spencer Parker (8.7 ppg), F Richaun Holmes (12.1 ppg, 9.1 rpg).

Cleveland State probable starters: G Andre Yates (8.0 ppg), G Trey Lewis (18 ppg, 3.8 apg), F Anton Grady (11.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg), G Charlie Lee (8 ppg, 3 apg), F Marlin Mason (10.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg).

Notes: Cleveland State was off this week because of final exams.... The Vikings are coming off its most complete game of the season, a 76-54 victory over Western Illinois Sunday at the Wolstein Center.... Five Vikings scored at least seven points in the win over WIU.... Against WIU, CSU played a full-court press the entire game that stymied the Leathernecks, causing them to turn it over 21 times, which led to 34 points for the Vikings... BGSU has yet to lose at home (3-0) and are 5-0 when scoring at least 60 points or more... The Falcons are coming off a heartbreaking 56-52 loss at Dayton on Tuesday... Against the Flyers, BGSU led for over 31 minutes and took a 50-39 lead with 10:17 left in the game, but only managed to score two points the rest of the game.... The Falcons are 2-0 against Horizon League members with wins against Wright State (70-55) and at Detroit (64-63)... The Vikings are 1-3 on the road and 0-1 against the Mid-American Conference, losing to Toledo (59-54) on Dec. 3.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cleveland State Basketball Highlights vs. Western Illinois

Courtesy of Cleveland State athletics

Cleveland State 76, Western Illinois 54: New Look Vikings Roll Past Leathernecks

After Cleveland State's 59-54 loss to Toledo on Wednesday, Vikings head coach Gary Waters decided to make some changes.

The first change came in practice.  The Vikings opened and ended Thursday's practice working on "pressuring the ball." Something CSU hasn't done since Anton Grady's freshman year.

Then Waters decided to make a change in the starting lineup. He installed Charlie Lee back into the starting lineup replacing Kaza Keane.

Waters also made an emphasize in team meetings on driving the basketball and getting to the foul line. And he also eliminated the amount of three-pointers they can shoot in a game to 15.

"I eliminated it to four people who can shoot threes," Waters said. "Nobody else can shoot threes. If they are open they drive it to the basket or pass."

The results were positive in CSU's first test as the new look Vikings played their most complete game of the season, easily defeating Western Illinois, 76-54, Sunday afternoon at the Wolstein Center.

It was the most points CSU has scored in nearly two-weeks - since they scored 83 in a loss to Savannah State on Nov. 22.

Trey Lewis led the Vikings with a game-high 21 points. The Garfield Heights native was 7-for-11 from the field, including making all four of his three-point attempts. He also added four rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Lewis has been carrying the offense lately but got plenty of help from his teammates on Sunday.

Grady contributed 14 points and six rebounds for the Vikings, while Andre Yates added 11 and the bench provided 19.

Yates made all four of his shots - including three three-pointers. Grady shot 3-for-8 from the floor and was 8-for-11 from the line.

Waters usually starts off all his press conferences by saying: "I give honor to god." But on Sunday, he started off by saying:

"I thought we came out with the intensity that I was looking for. I thought we played Cleveland State basketball today," he said. "What you see, the intensity and the level of defense that you seen out there today is what you are going to see every day. And we are going to rev it up even more."

CSU (4-4) opened the game with a full-court press and never let up the entire game. Their aggressive pressure defense caused WIU (2-5) to turn it over 21 times, which led to 34 points for the Vikings.

"We are going to pressure for 40 minutes," said Grady. "No let up."

Waters added: "We are not a great half-court shooting team, if we can find other ways to score - especially with our defense. I think it well help us."

A key for the Vikings was defending without fouling. CSU came into the game averaging 21.1 fouls per game, but committed a season-low 14 fouls against WIU.

The key was keeping Grady on the floor. Against UT, Grady was limited to just 15 minutes because of foul trouble. On Sunday, Grady played 29 minutes and only committed one foul.

"I had to make some adjustments by myself," said Grady on his fouling issues that have plagued him this season.

CSU shared the ball on offense and had 17 assists on its 25 field goals made.

The Vikings also did a much better job of getting to the line. After attempting only four free throws in the loss to UT, they went to the charity stripe 21 times against the Leathernecks, making 17 of them (81 percent).

They also did a much better job with its shot selection on their three-point attempts. After attempting a whopping 28 three-pointers (and only making 10) against UT, CSU shot 9-for-16 (56.3 percent) from downtown against WIU.

CSU set the tone early with its defense.

At the under 12 media timeout, CSU had already forced seven turnovers as they built a 19-13 lead and never looked back.

CSU started off making eight of its first 15 shots. Lewis paced the way by scoring 10 of their 19 points.

By the half, CSU held a 44-21 lead. They caused 15 turnovers that led to 22 points for the Vikings.

Eight of CSU's 10 steals came in the first half. Yates led the way with four steals - all in the first half.

"Something, I take pride in," Yates said about his defense.

Nine different Vikings scored in the opening half. They shot 48.1 percent (13-for-27) from the floor and were 14-for-15 from the foul line.

The second half was more of the same as CSU built a 29-point lead with four minutes to go, which led to Waters to clear the bench and put in the walk-ons.

Garrett Covington led the Leathernecks with 17, while Jabari Sandifer added 12.

CSU's bench got a spark from Keane (seven points) and Derek Sloan (five).

"I thought Kaza was aggressive and Derek Sloan came in an did a decent job," said Waters.

Injury updates: Yates (leg) and Demonte Flannigan (shoulder) left the game with injuries in the second half.

Yates later returned to the game.

"It's all right," Yates said about his leg injury.

Flannigan did not return.

"He jammed his shoulder," said Waters. "They didn't know if it snapped out, but found out it's okay."

Next up:  CSU travels to Bowling Green on Saturday.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Cleveland State Men's Basketball Highlights vs. Toledo (Dec. 3)

Courtesy of Cleveland State athletics

Toledo 59, Cleveland State 54: Vikings offense stalls in Lee's return

Before every game Cleveland State head coach Gary Waters gives his team one key word to focus on.

On Wednesday, he gave the team the word "purpose" or "play with a purpose" before they took the court against Toledo.

Unfortunately, CSU didn't play with "much of a purpose" against a UT team that had lost its past two games against Horizon League members Detroit and Oakland.

The Vikings could not overcome a dismal first half and had its late rally fall short as the Rockets made enough free throws down the stretch to come out with a 59-54 victory at the Wolstein Center.

"We didn't play well today," Waters said. "The only positive thing is you don't win championships in November."

Waters said he will take the blame for the loss.

"I told the team [in the locker room] I''ll take the hit for this one because I'm trying to figure things out when bringing new people back," he said. "We got to do a better job of being more prepared. When you hold a team to 39 percent and can't score, that's bad."

The good news for the Vikings is that senior guard Charlie Lee returned from a six-game suspension for a violation of team rules. The bad new is their offense still remains a work in progress.

Trey Lewis was CSU's only consistent offensive weapon as he led the Vikings with a game-high 21 points. No other Viking had more then nine points.

The Garfield Heights native was 8-for-21 from the floor, including 5-for-14 from three-pointer range.

"I can't let one guy dominate the play," said Waters. "You can't win games like that."

J.D. Weatherspoon, a former Ohio State Buckeye, led UT (3-4) with 16 points and seven rebounds, while Justin Drummond added 14 and Jonathan Williams 11.

Weatherspoon only made four baskets, but was 8-for-11 from the line.

The Vikings shot 35.6 percent (21-for-59) from the floor and were 10-for-28 (35.7 percent) from three-point range.

"We didn't move the ball with a purpose," said Waters. "We didn't start driving towards the basket until the last five minutes. We got to move the ball better."

CSU's defense put up another strong performance, holding UT to 39.6 percent (19-for-48) from the floor and 5-for-14 from three-point range.

The big difference came at the free throw line. The Rockets attempted 23 free throws, making 16 of them, while CSU only attempted four, making two.

"We shot four free throws. I've never seen that in my entire life," said Waters.

In the first-half, CSU dug a hole for themselves with poor shooting and carelessness with the ball.

They turned it over eight times in the first 13 minutes as UT built a 19-10 lead and never looked back.

CSU made only four of its first 28 shots, while the Rockets made 7 of its first 17.

The turning point came when Anton Grady picked up his second foul with 13 minutes left and had to sit on the bench for the rest of the half.

Without its inside presence on the floor, CSU went through a period where they didn't score a point for almost five minutes.

"Anton Grady can't be playing just 15 minutes a game," said Waters. "That is killing us everytime. We got to keep him on the floor so we have a middle presence."

Grady, CSU's second-leading scorer at 12.2 points per game, finished with seven points on 3-for-10 shooting.

"We got to have his points," said Waters. "We won at Marshall because Anton scored 17."

A lay-up by Aaron Scales ended a 4-minute and 66-second drought between field goals for the Vikings and cut the lead down to 19-12 with 6:37 left. They only scored three points the rest of the half.

The Vikings were held to season-lows in field goals (6) and points (15) in the first half as UT (4-3) built a 28-15 lead at the intermission.

At the half, CSU was shooting just 20.7 percent (6-for-29) from the floor. Almost half of their attempts came from three-point range (2-for-14).

"You can't shoot 14 threes and expect to win. We are not a three-point shooting team," said Waters.

Lewis led the Vikings with six first half points, while no other Viking had more then three.

UT weren't much better in the first half as they made only 10-of-26 shots (38.5 percent), but did its damage at the line where they were 5-for-7.

The second half was more of the same as the Rockets made its first three shots and took its largest lead of the game on Julius Browns' four-point play that extended it to 36-18.

However, CSU would make it interesting. They finally found their offensive stroke with about a minute left - knocking down four three-pointers to cut the lead down to 57-54 with 10 seconds left.

Williams sank two free throws for the Rockets to seal the win.

Lee makes debut: With 13:21 left in the first half, Lee made his 2014-15 debut replacing Kaza Keane.

The Milwaukee native missed his first five shots, but made his last three.

Lee finished with nine points and three assists in 25 minutes.

Next up: Western Illinois visits the Wolstein Center on Sunday for the return game of the 2013 BracketBusters.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Toledo-Cleveland State Preview

Toledo at Cleveland State

7 p.m. at the Wolstein Center

Records: Toledo 2-4; Cleveland State 3-3


Radio: 1220-AM The Word

Series: Toledo leads, 7-5.

Last meeting: Toledo won 71-67 last year at Savage Arena.

Toledo probable starters: F JD Weaterspoon (12 ppg, 6.5 rpg), C Nathan Boothe (11.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg), G Jonathan Williams (11.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg), G Justin Drummond (12.8 ppg), G Julius Brown (15 ppg, 4.7 apg).

Cleveland State probable starters: F Anton Grady (12.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg), F Marlin Mason (12 ppg, 5.3 rpg), G Andre Yates (8.3 ppg), G Kaza Keane (6.2 ppg), G Trey Lewis (17 ppg, 4 apg).

Notes: Cleveland State is coming off its first road win of the season, 68-59, at Marshall... Senior forward Marlin Mason had 18 points against Marshall, while junior forward Anton Grady contributed 17 and junior guard Trey Lewis 14... CSU returns home for the first time since Nov. 19 and opens up a two-game homestand.... Senior point guard Charlie Lee will make his 2014-15 debut tonight for the Vikings after serving a six-game suspension for a violation of team rules... Toledo is coming off back-to-back losses to Horizon League members, Detroit (82-79) and at Oakland (81-79)... Toledo head coach Tod Kowalczyk held the same position at Green Bay from 2002-10... CSU has won four of the past five games in the series.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Cleveland State offers Baltimore point guard

Cleveland State has extended a scholarship offer to 2016 guard Khalil Richard of Baltimore, MD, according to his high school coach's Twitter account.

The 5-foot-11 point guard plays for St. Frances Academy in Baltimore.

According to VerbalCommits.com, Richard also holds offers from Siena, Boston University,  UT Martin, UMBC, Cornell, Fairfield, George Mason, Towson and Loyola (Md.).

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Vikings try to spoil Rick Pitino’s milestone

Cleveland State could be short-handed for tonight's game at No. 6 Louisville (7 ET, ESPN3).

Sophomore guard Andre Yates injured his left wrist in CSU's 87-83 overtime loss to Savannah State on Saturday and is "questionable."

Vikings head coach Gary Waters said on his radio show Monday that Yates' wrist is not broken, but they don't know if he tore any ligaments. If he has torn ligaments and needs surgery, Yates could be out "four to six weeks."

CSU is already playing without starting point guard Charlie Lee, who is suspended for the first six games for "a violation of team rules." Lee's suspension ends Sunday.

The Vikings blew a 13-point second half lead against SSU.

With 23 seconds left, CSU was holding on to a 77-72 lead, but couldn't make their free throws down the stretch. Marlin Mason and Anton Grady each split a pair at the charity stripe, while SSU's Jarvis Jenkins knocked down two three-pointers to send the game into overtime.

"The last five minutes were brutal," Waters said at his media gathering on Monday. "We didn't make our free throws at the end and you got to make your free throws."

The upset-minded Vikings, who are a 22-point underdog against UL, will try to spoil Rick Pitino's career milestone day as the 30-year veteran coach is going for career-win No. 700.

"They are a different team then years past," Waters said. "They go about eight deep and play a lot more zone. They got an inside presence and good guard play. We got our work cut out."

UL is 68-9 all-time at the KFC Yum! Center and have won 30 straight home games against nonconference opponents and 31 in a row there against unranked foes.

"I like to play the best so I know what we are," Waters said.

If the Vikings are going to have a chance to pull off the upset they will have to be ready to defend against Pitino's uptempo style of play.

The Cardinals' offense is averaging 85.2 points per game and are outscoring opponents by an average of 35.2 points.

CSU is holding opponents to 66.8 points per game and 44.8 percent from the field.

A key for the Vikings will be to defend without fouling. CSU averages 22.75 fouls a game and are allowing 28.5 free throws a game.

"We got to understand this fouling situation," said Waters. "The officials are calling it like they did last year and really making a commitment to the hand checking rule."

In the loss to SSU, the Tigers went to the line 41 times, making 31, while CSU was 23-for-29.

In the loss to Iona, the Gaels attempted 37 free throws, making 22, while CSU was 9-for-13.

The Cardinals will be playing their third game in six days, while the Vikings are well-rested and haven't played a game since Saturday.

UL (4-0) crushed SSU on Monday, 87-26. The Tigers missed their first 23 shots from the field as the Cardinals built a 29-0 lead and never looked back.

"They press you into making errors and mistakes and they capitalize on your errors and mistakes,"  Waters said. "[Rick Pitino's] the best at it."

Pitino's full court press and their length caused SSU all kinds of problems as they turned it over 26 turnovers.

The Vikings will need to do a better job of handling the press. They turned it over 20 times against SSU.

"Against their press, we probably turned it over between five and eight times," said Waters. "One of the things we need to do a better job is attack it to score. In the last game, we didn't attack it to score, we just beat the press."

CSU also needs to get more production from its bench. The reserves only scored 11 points in the loss to SSU. Waters wants the bench to provide between 15-20 points a game.

"The one who has to help us is Vinny Zollo," said Waters. "He can make a difference for us."

Zollo went scoreless against the Tigers and is averaging 4.0 points in 10.5 minutes per game.

Four Cardinals are averaging double-figures, led by Montrezl Harrell (18 points and 7.8 rebounds). Shaker Heights native Terry Rozier is averaging 14.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists. The others are Chris Jones (12.5 points) and Wayne Blackshear (12).

The Vikings are 5-14 against ranked teams under Waters - including CSU's lone win over a top-10 team came on Nov. 13, 2011 against No. 7 Vanderbilt (71-58).

Last year, CSU put a scare into No. 3 Kentucky - holding a 10-point lead with seven minutes left - but they couldn't close out the game and fell, 68-61.

However, only three players remain from last year's squad that faced Kentucky - Trey Lewis, Grady and Mason.

There are three things Waters wants to see from his young team: "I want to go in there and compete. I want to go in there and execute against the press and [the newcomers need to] trust the system."