Friday, December 30, 2016

Cleveland State can’t hold lead in heartbreaking overtime loss to Green Bay in Horizon opener

Cleveland State found themselves in an unfamiliar situation on Thursday night at the Wolstein Center.

The Vikings had a 13 point lead against the reigning Horizon League tournament champs, but couldn't hold onto it.

Green Bay, who made just 23-of-41 shots from the free throw line, made 7-of-10 at the charity stripe in overtime and escaped with a 76-75 victory.

"This was a game we shouldn't have let get away," Vikings head coach Gary Waters said. "We had a lot of situations [to pull out the game], but we made too many errors down the stretch."

CSU (4-9, 0-1 Horizon League) had a chance to close out the game in regulation, but couldn't execute down the stretch.

With 37.4 seconds left, the Vikings held a two-point lead and had the ball coming out of a timeout, but they couldn't get the ball inbounds.

"All we had to do is throw the ball in and we win the game because they had to foul us," Waters said. "That was the worst play I've seen us make in a long time."

Green Bay stole the inbounce pass and Khalil Small's layup tied the game at 67-67.

The Phoenix (7-6, 1-0 Horizon League) also had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Tevin Findlay missed a pair of free throws in the final seconds.

The Vikings also missed on several opportunities in overtime.

On back-to-back possessions, CSU missed three point blank layups.

"Not so much a young team. It's a team that don't know how to win in the last minute yet," Waters said. "Is this a learning experience? - yes - but we got to gain from this or we lost everything we put in."

Kerem Kanter, the younger brother of the Oklahoma City Thunder's Enes Kanter, scored on a lay-up to give the Phoenix a 71-67 lead with 2:25 left in overtime. It was Green Bay's only field goal of the overtime session.

The Vikings fought back and tied the game at 75-75 on Rob Edwards' three-pointer with 16 seconds left.

"That was a big time three," Waters said.

With five seconds left, Trevor Anderson split a pair of free throws to give Green Bay the win.

The Vikings had one last chance to pull out the win, but couldn't get a shot off.

Edwards drove down the lane, but kicked the pass out to Tim Hasbargen, who couldn't get his three-pointer off in time.

"I should of pulled up," Edwards said on the final shot attempt. "I saw a guy ready to take a charge and had no other options."

Edwards led CSU with a game-high 22 points, 17 of them came in the second half and overtime. Bobby Word added 18 for the Vikings, who lost its first home game of the season.

Word was 4-of-5 from three-point range.

Charles Cooper led the Phoenix with 19 points, while Turner Botz added  12 and Kanter contributed 11 points and a career-high 14 rebounds.

"The one that really hurt us was Cooper," said Waters. "He came in and kept driving the ball. We never had an answer for him."

The Vikings turned it over 20 times and gave up 22 offensive rebounds.

"That was the game," Waters said about the differences in turnovers and offensive rebounds.

Word added: "I don't think we seen any pressure like that this year."

CSU will look to rebound Saturday when Milwaukee visits the Wolstein Center.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Despite 79-62 win, Cleveland State’s Gary Waters wants to see more consistency from Big Three

With the start of the Horizon League season only 10 days away, Gary Waters is still looking for more consistency from its "big three."

The big three of Rob Edwards, Demonte Flannigan and Bobby Word combined for just 44 points in Cleveland State's 79-62 victory over Lake Erie College on Monday night at the Wolstein Center.

"If all three are scoring, it's pretty hard to beat us," Waters said. "If two of them are scoring, we have a chance [to win]. If only one of them is scoring it's hard for us to win games."

On Monday, only Edwards showed up.

The sophomore guard from Detroit had his best game since injuring his right hand in a loss to Kentucky on Nov. 23. Edwards scored a game-high 25 points, which included four three-pointers.

"My hand is feeling much better. It's like brand new," Edwards said.

Edwards still isn't 100 percent. He missed a couple of bunnies, including a breakaway dunk that he normally would make.

"That will never happen again," Edwards said about the miss dunk.

Flannigan played well in the first half, but disappeared in the second half due to foul trouble.

The Villa Angela-St. Joseph product scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half as he helped the Vikings built a 39-28 lead at the intermission

Flannigan played only 11 minutes in the second half and attempted only one shot after the intermission.

Word's shooting struggles continued again on Monday. The Oral Roberts transfer shot 1-for-8 from the field, for seven points.

"The one that has been really struggling the last few games is Bobby," said Waters. "We need Bobby [to be more consistent] to have the success we are trying to have."

The other issue that CSU has been dealing with during the nonconference season are long scoring droughts. They reappeared again against LEC as the Vikings had two long scoring droughts that led the Storm to get back into the game.

The first one came just before the half.

With 6:51 left in the first half, the Vikings were holding on to a 16-point lead, but scored only seven points the rest of the half. LEC closed to within nine, but Flannigan's layup with three seconds left, gave CSU a 11-point lead at the half.

"What has been consistent with those [scoring] droughts are turnovers," said Waters. "We turned it over five times in 10 possessions."

To start the second half, CSU had a stretch were they went scoreless for nearly three minutes as LEC closed to within six.

"When we get these droughts, we shouldn't be shooting. We should be driving the ball to the basket," said Waters. "We did a better job of taking the ball to the basket [in the second half.]"

The Vikings put the game away with a 24-11 run over the next 10 minutes that saw CSU extended the lead to 71-52 with 3:12 to go.

"When we finally settled down, I thought our defense became better," Waters said.

Jibri Blount scored 11 points off the bench for the Vikings (4-7) who are 4-0 at home for the first time since the 2012-13 season.

Mitch Loomis led four Storm (1-12) in double-figures with 12 points. Brogan Scott added 11 for LEC, while Nick Wells and Gabe Kynard each contributed 10 points.

Lights out: The start of the second half was delayed 20 minutes as the power went off for a couple of minutes.

Injury report: Freshman center Evan Clayborne (turf toe) and sophomore walk-on point guard Nelson Maxwell (ankle) did not dress.

Waters is hoping that Clayborne will be back for Thursday's road game at Belmont.

Peppers update: Waters was originally hoping to have Gavin Peppers back by the start of conference play, but those plans have changed.

"Gavin is still not there yet," said Waters. "[We will] probably give him another 2-3 weeks and if he's not ready, then we will discuss whether to potentially red-shirt him."

Peppers, a junior college transfer from Laramie County Community College in Wyoming, won the starting point guard job during the preseason, but suffered a "bad, bad bone bruise" in practice and hasn't played in a game this season.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Cleveland State men’s basketball bounces back with win over Bethune-Cookman

After a winless four game road trip, the Cleveland State men’s basketball team got back on track Saturday.

The Vikings took a quick lead over Bethune-Cookman and never looked back, pulling away for a 73-62 win at The Q.

"We were happy to be back in Cleveland," said CSU coach Gary Waters. "It was not a very good looking game, but when you are trying to get back on track you take what you can get."

Demonte Flannigan paced the Vikings (2-5) with a season-high 21 points and nine rebounds, while Rob Edwards scored 19.

Quinton Forrest led the Wildcats (2-6) with 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Brandon Tabb added 18.

CSU found its identity on defense against the Wildcats as they held them to 37 percent from the field. The Vikings also had seven steals and held a 22-9 edge in point off turnovers.

 "I thought we played hard, especially on the defensive end," Waters said.

The Vikings defense was particular good in the first half. They held Bethune-Cookman to just eight field goals in the first 20 minutes.

Edwards had his best game since injuring his right hand in a loss to Kentucky on Nov. 23. Friday was the first time that Edwards said he was able to shoot a basketball.

"It's getting better, just take it day-to-day and keep icing it and [using] heat pads before going out to the court," Edwards said.

Edwards opened the game with a steal and dunked it with his injured hand to give CSU a quick 2-0 lead.

B-CU tied it 2-2 on a pair of free throws from Brandon Tabb. Then it was all CSU.

CSU built a 12-4 lead six minutes into the game and entered halftime leading 38-24. B-CU never got closer then 11 in the second half.

The Vikings outscored the Wildcats 40-36 inside the paint and CSU also held a 16-11 advantage in second chance points.

"We did a good job of attacking the basket in the first half and getting the ball inside," said Waters. "We knew if we could get the ball inside that we could score."

Homecoming: B-CU head coach Gravelle Craig played basketball at CSU from 1991-94.

Injury updates:  Junior forward Anthony Wright (ankle) and sophomore walk-on guard Nelson Maxwell (hamstring) did not dress.

Wright was injured in the second half of CSU's loss to Arkansas State on Wednesday. Waters is hoping Wright will be back for Wednesday's game against Western Michigan.

Waters said Maxwell has a "bad, bad sprain" and is out a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The latest on Flannigan, Hales & Peppers

At a news conference, Cleveland State coach Gary Waters said center Demonte Flannigan, guard Terrell Hales and point guard Gavin Peppers remain out.

Flannigan, a product of Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School, hasn't played in a game since CSU's exhibition game against Tiffin on Nov. 7.

The day before CSU's season-opener against Kent State, Flannigan collapsed on the court during CSU's shootaround and was taken to a Youngstown hospital for evaluation.

It was originally thought to be a possible heart-attack, but was later diagnosed as "stress."

"His heart is good," said Waters. "(He was dealing with) five different things all on one day and it traumatized his muscles. All the muscles on one side of his body had shut down, Everything hit him at once."

Waters said there is no timetable for when Flannigan will return.

Hales, CSU's top defender, hasn’t played this season because of a "hamstring pull."

"He's still bringing it along slowly," said Waters. "We could shoot him in there and hope everything is okay, then reinjures it and (is out) another long period. We want to make sure he's completely healthy."

Peppers, who was expected to open the season as CSU's starting point guard, is out 3-5 weeks after suffering a right foot injury in practice during the preseason while attempting a lay-up. His foot remains in a walking boot.

"We found out it's not the Achilles, but a bad bone bruise," said Waters. "It's almost to the effect as its broken. So you got to let it heal by itself."

Waters is hoping Peppers will be back for the start of conference play.

Next up: The Vikings (1-2) will continue its play in the Bluegrass Showcase Wednesday with a 1 p.m. game at No. 1 Kentucky.

The Wildcats (4-0) are coming off a 93-59 victory over Duquesne on Sunday.

"What I'm looking for is that we play well," said Waters. "I remember three years ago we went to Kentucky and I told them forget about the game and go out and play your basketball and they did it and had a chance to win it."

Slow starts: A common theme in CSU's two losses, have been what Waters calls "major slow starts" in the first half.

Against KSU, the Vikings made only one of its first 16 shots and fell behind by 21 points in the opening half. CSU rallied in the second half to send the game into overtime.

On Friday against UT Martin, the Vikings fell behind 30 points in the opening half as they went through a stretch where the made just 2-of-17 shots.

Waters said without Flannigan's presence down low teams have been playing a 1-3-1 zone and forcing CSU to shoot from the perimeter,

"We got to get Rob (Edwards) going earlier," Waters said. "In the first 15 minutes (against UT Martin), he took only three shots. We also got to find ways to get inside and get some inside presence."

Return of the press: In the second half against UT Martin, Waters switched to a full court press for the entire half and the Vikings nearly pulled off the comeback, closing within four with 2:27 to go.

"They were hot and I had to get them off their shooting and get us back in the game," Waters said. "It really took a toll on them. The timing was perfect for us to have a chance to win the game, but we missed some shots down the stretch."

Waters said he plans to continue to press more.

"We had so many new guys. When you have that many new guys they have to learn the fundamentals of defense first," he said.  "My whole time in the preseason was teaching them how to play defense in the halfcourt."

CSU women update: Kate Peterson Abiad's CSU women's squad stands at 1-2 on the season.

The Vikings opened the season with a road win at Evansville and a very competitive loss at No. 8 Ohio State (96-78), but a 33-point loss to Toledo at the Wolstein Center had Peterson Abiad scratching her head.

"I was really disappointed in the way we came into the game," Peterson Abiad said. "Just the effort. Toledo came after us and were physical and aggressive. It looked like it took us by surprise."

CSU will look to rebound at home on Wednesday against a Niagara (1-3) team that has lost three straight.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Shorthanded Cleveland State holds off Canisius

With three players out with injuries, Cleveland State’s men’s basketball team still managed to hold off Canisius 67-64 on Tuesday in their home regular-season opener at Wolstein Center.

CSU (1-1) used a balance scoring attack with five players in double-figures.

"It's back to back games that we had four or five guys in double-figures. That means we are all contributing," Vikings head coach Gary Waters said.

Rob Edwards led the Vikings with 17 points, while Bobby Word added 14 points and seven rebounds and Derek Sloan, Jibri Blount and Kash Thomas each contributed 10 points.

Jermaine Crumpton led Canisius (0-2) with 21 points, including 3-of-6 three-point shooting.

The Vikings shot 51 percent in the second half to erase an eight-point deficit.

"What won this game down the stretch was our defense," said Waters.

CSU's aggressive man-to-man defense held the Golden Griffins to 41 percent in the second half and outrebounded them 17-10 in the final 20 minutes.

"That was the key," Waters said about CSU's advantage on the boards. "That's all we worked on in practice yesterday was rebounding. I drilled them real hard at halftime [about rebounding]."

The Vikings were playing without Demonte Flannigan, Terrell Hales and Gavin Peppers.

Flannigan, CSU's starting center, collapsed on the court during CSU's shootaround before Saturday's game against Kent State in Youngstown and was taken to the hospital for evaluation.

"It was a traumatic thing. Everyone thought he had a heart attack," Waters said. "[The doctors] are still testing his heart and testing for asthma."

Hales, CSU's best defender, missed his third straight game with "a high hamstring pull." His status still remains day-to-day.

Peppers won the starting point guard competition during the preseason, but suffered a Achilles injury in practice, a couple days before CSU's exhibition game, and remains out indefinitely. He still has to undergo an MRI and X-rays.

Thomas started in Pepper’s place and had his second straight solid outing with seven assists and six rebounds to go along with 10 points.

"He showed me somethings," Waters said about his 20 year old freshmen point guard.

Kassius Robertson hit his fourth three-pointer in four attempts to give Canisius a 39-31 lead with 19:42 left

The Vikings used an 8-1 run to tie the game at 40-40.

Thomas' second three-point of the half gave CSU the lead for good 56-53. CSU would push the lead out to as much as four.

Crumpton's  third three-pointer of the game closed Canisius within 65-64 with 1:48 to go.

The Vikings would close out the game with a tip-in from Word with 15 seconds left to give CSU some breathing room and big defensive stop.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Cleveland State basketball: Gavin Peppers out 3-5 weeks with foot injury

Gavin Peppers
Cleveland State head men’s basketball coach Gary Waters has announced that junior point guard Gavin Peppers will miss 3 to 5 weeks due to a right Achilles injury.

Peppers suffered the injury during practice last week and it was announced Monday he’d miss significant time.

"He was attempting a lay-up and came down awkwardly," Waters said at his media gathering Thursday. "They feel he did not tear his Achilles. [It's] more of a strong, hard bone bruise at the bottom of his foot."

Freshmen point guard Kash Thomas started CSU's exhibition game against Tiffin on Monday in place of Peppers, who was projected to open the season as the starter.

Thomas, a native of Montreal Canada, had a solid debut with the Vikings, contributing four points, four assists and four steals in 29 minutes. He only turned it over two times.

"He didn't seem to be rattled," Waters said. "He's got more experience then what you think because he's a 20 year old freshmen. In Canada, they allow you to go over grade 13, so he has more experience beyond the normal freshmen would have."

Sophomore walk-on Nelson Maxwell and Kenny Carpenter will back-up Thomas. Waters said Rob Edwards could also see some time at the point.

Maxwell, a product of Orange High School, appeared in 16 games with the Vikings last season, averaging 2.6 points and 1.4 assists in 14.8 minutes per game.

Carpenter will open the season as CSU's sixth man. The 6-foot-4 swingman from Detroit can play all three guard positions.

CSU opens regular-season play Saturday against Kent State in Youngstown as part of the Northeast Ohio Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

Signing day: Waters also announced the signing of Garfield Heights shooting guard Shawn Christian on Thursday.

One of the top shooters in the state, Christian averaged 13 points per game as a junior.

"Shawn is a very good shooter and he's going to be a good defender," Waters said. "One of the things he said to me was 'Coach, I want to stay home and make our home great again.' "

Christian is the only player CSU is expected to sign during the early recruiting period.

The Vikings are still looking to add a center during the late signing period.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Cleveland State's starting lineup for season opener still undecided, Gary Waters says

Cleveland State coach Gary Waters says there is an open competition with 10 players competing for starting spots. 
With just over 15 day remaining before their 2016-17 season opener, Cleveland State head coach Gary Waters has yet to determine his starting lineup.

"It will probably be at the end of next week before I make that final decision (on the starting five)," Waters said after CSU's Green and White scrimmage on Saturday. "We have about nine guys that can be starters."

The nine in contention for starting spots include Jibri Blount, Jamarcus Hairston, Demonte Flannigan, Rob Edwards, Kenny Carpenter, Gavin Peppers, Kash Thomas, Bobby Word and Anthony Wright.

Derek Sloan has also joined the conversation.

"The one that has really played well is Derek Sloan," Waters said. "He has been added to the process."

Last week, Waters said that Peppers was the "frontrunner" for the starting point guard competition, with Thomas and Carpenter also in the mix.

The starting two guard competition is between Edwards, CSU's leading scorer last year at 12.4 points per game, and Word, an Oral Roberts transfer.

The competition for the small forward/wing includes Wright, Sloan and Carpenter.

And Blount, Flannigan and Hairston are competing for two frontcourt positions.

"We really haven't had starters yet," said Waters. "Each Saturday we have had a scrimmage game and I change (the lineups) around because I want to see what they look like together."

On Saturday, Edwards, Flannigan, Sloan, Carpenter and Thomas played on the white team, while Peppers, Wright, Blount, Word and Hairston were on the green squad.

The starters should be in place for CSU's lone exhibition game of the season on Nov. 7 against Tiffin.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Cleveland State basketball: Gavin Peppers is emerging as the frontrunner to be the Vikings' starting point guard

Gavin Peppers
Although Gary Waters has not yet had an actual starting lineup in practice, a leader has emerged in Cleveland State’s ongoing point guard competition.

Junior college transfer Gavin Peppers has the inside track, with junior Kenny Carpenter and freshmen Kash Thomas also in the mix.

"Right now, Gavin Peppers would be the frontrunner," Waters said at Tuesday's media gathering. "I'm going to split that time up. If we could go 25 and 15 (minutes) that would be good."

Peppers, a transfer from Laramie County Community College in Wyoming, has impressed the coaches in practice with his ability to score the basketball - something the Vikings are desperate in need of after finishing 346th in scoring (out of 351 division I programs) last year, averaging just 60.8 points a game.

"He's a look to score first point guard," Waters said about Peppers, who averaged 18.7 points, 3.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game last year for LCCC. "He can score (the basketball) as well as anyone out there."

A Brookeville, Md. native, Peppers had 10, 20-point games last year for LCCC, including two 30-point performances. He's a 37-percent shooter from three-point distance.

Carpenter, who started eight games last year and averaged 6.8 points, has showcased a much improved shot during the first two weeks of practice. His offseason regimen included making 30,000 shots a day.

"Kenny has really stepped up to be a scorer," said Waters. "We had our first (intrasquad) scrimmage and he took 27 shots."

While Peppers and Carpenter look to score first, Thomas is more of a traditional pass first point guard.

Thomas, a Chateauguay, Quebec native, led the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association in assist-to-turnover ratio last year. He averaged 18.4 points and 4.9 assists as a senior.

"The kid I've been really excited about is Kash Thomas," said Waters. "He has done a really good job of running the show. He has instincts that you look for in point guards. He's such a great kid, too."

Green and white scrimmage: CSU basketball fans can get their first look at the 2016-17 Vikings squads on Saturday, with a free public scrimmage at 11 a.m in the Wolstein Center.

Yates update: Former Viking point guard Andre Yates, who briefly attempted to start a pro career overseas, has transferred to Benedictine College, an NAIA school in Kansas.

"Andre made a decision that he wanted to move on," said Waters.

Date change: CSU's men's basketball exhibition game against Tiffin has been moved to Monday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m.. The contest was originally scheduled to be played Nov. 8.

Tickets now on sale: Single-game tickets for CSU's men's basketball home games are now on sale.

Tickets for games at the Wolstein Center are $10 for the end zone, $15 for seats between the baseline or $20 for center court.

For the two games at the Q, it is $22 for center court, $17 between the baseline and end zone seats are $12.

Tickets can be ordered online at,  in-person at the Wolstein Center or Quicken Loans Arena Box Offices or by calling 216-420-2970 or 888-894-9424.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Three questions as Cleveland State basketball team opens practice

Monday marks the unofficial kickoff to college basketball season at Cleveland State.

The men’s basketball team held its first of 27 allotted official preseason practices this afternoon.

"We got a lot of new faces," Vikings head coach Gary Waters said Saturday after CSU's annual alumni game. "The guys that are coming back are excited about moving forward this year and I really feel that we are going to have a pretty good year."

Coming off a 9-23 season, the Vikings have plenty of questions that need to be answered before its Nov. 12 opener against Kent State. Here’s a look at some of the questions the Vikings may be looking at:

1. WHO WILL Score?

A year ago, only five other DI programs scored less points then the Vikings who averaged just 60.8 points a game during the 2015-16 season.

Sophomore guard Rob Edwards (12.4 points a game) and senior forward Demonte Flannigan (11.4) should carry most of the scoring load, but the question remains who will help them out.

"I think we can add another 20 points because we brought in players that can put the ball in the basket," said Waters.

Waters believes Bobby Word, an Oral Roberts transfer who sat out last year, can be the third go to guy. Word impressed in practice last year and could give the Vikings a much needed perimeter threat. The Lancaster, Tx. native averaged 8.4 points for the Golden Eagles as a sophomore and scored double-digits 14 times. He's a 38.4 percent shooter from downtown.

"We have two junior college players that are pretty good players," said Waters. "Jamarcus (Hairston), he was a 16 point scorer and Gavin Peppers averaged 18 points per game."

Peppers is a natural scorer who is expected to compete for the starting point guard spot. The Brookeville, Md. native had 10, 20-point games last year for Laramie (Wy.) County Community College, including two 30-point performances. He's a 37-percent shooter from three-point distance.

Hairston, a versatile forward, can play both the four or five. The Danville, Va. native can also play inside or on the perimeter. He posted 27 double-digit scoring games and 15 double-digit rebounding game last year at Louisburg Junior College in North Carolina.


The Vikings return four starters from last season, but starting point guard Andre Yates decided to give up his final year of eligibility in order to start a pro career overseas. That leaves the Vikings with an open competition for the starting lead guard spot.

"We have about three guys that have the potential to play that position - Gavin Peppers, Kash Thomas and Kenny Carpenter," said Waters.

Carpenter, who started eight games last year, could be the favorite entering the preseason. Waters tends to open practice with two teams - the veterans vs. the newcomers. With Carpenter being the only veteran at the position, he'd likely open practice with the other starters.

Waters is also high on Thomas, a freshmen from Montreal, Canada. He's more a traditional pass first point.

"Kash Thomas will get a chance to play as a freshmen at one of the point guards," said Waters.

3. Can CSU play faster?

The Vikings played at the nation’s 36th-slowest tempo last year, a grind-it-out style that limited offensive possessions. With more length, athleticism and depth this season, CSU is hoping to pick up the pace a bit.

"What I want to do is increase the pace a little bit and get our guys out and going because we're going to have a lot of numbers," said Waters. "I don't want guys to play 40 minutes, I need guys who can play 24 minutes."

Monday, July 18, 2016

Cleveland State men’s basketball to play at Kentucky on Nov. 23

The Cleveland State men’s basketball team will play Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Nov. 23, according to the Wildcats’ nonconference schedule released Monday.

The game is part of a tournament called the Bluegrass Showcase. The other teams in the tournament include Canisius, Duquesne, and Tennessee-Martin.

Each team will play four games. The Vikings are expected to play three games on the road and host one at the Wolstein Center.

Canisius will visit the Wolstein Center on Nov. 15.  The Vikings will also play road games at UT-Martin on Nov. 18 and a trip to Pittsburgh to face Duquesne on Nov. 27.

CSU's full non-conference schedule has not yet been released.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Cleveland State basketball team back on campus for summer school

Andre Yates will not be returning.
Summer school classes begin this week for 10 Cleveland State men's basketball returning players and six newcomers, CSU spokesperson Greg Murphy confirmed.

Murphy also confirmed that Andre Yates, Aaron Scales, Jeron Rogers, and Jono Janssen are no longer with the program.

Yates has decided to forego his final season of eligibility and pursue professional opportunities.

Scales, Rogers and Janssen transferred to other schools.

Yates is the most prominent of the departees.

The Dayton native started 29 of 30 games last season for the Vikings, leading the team in assists (2.1) to go along with 9.1 points a game.

Yates' departure leaves CSU with not much DI experience at the lead guard position. Only Kenny Carpenter has started a game at the DI level.

Carpenter, a junior from Detroit, started eight games for the Vikings last season. He averaged 6.8 points and 1.5 assists a game.

The Viking also brought in a couple of recruits to compete with Carpenter - including junior college transfer Gavin Peppers and freshmen Kasheem "Kash" Thomas.

Scales graduated from CSU in May and is taking advantage of an NCAA rule that allows graduates to transfer to be immediately eligible. The High Point, North Carolina native is transferring closer to home and will spend his final season of eligibility at North Carolina A&T.

The 6-foot-9 center played sparingly with the Vikings in his three-year career, averaging 1.4 points and 1.5 rebounds in 72 games.

Janssen is transferring to Division II Hawaii Pacific. The redshirt freshmen forward from Mountain Creek, Australia, appeared in 11 games with the Vikings, totaling nine points and 11 rebounds in 37 minutes.

Rogers, a Detroit native and son of former NBA player Carlos Rogers, is transferring to Oakland (Mich.) Community College. The freshmen forward appeared in 25 games with the Vikings last season, averaging 1.6 points and 1.1 rebounds.

Demonte Flannigan is CSU's lone returning senior on the roster. Cal State Bakersfield transfer Ravonn "PJ" Posey, is also a senior, but he will have to sitout the 2016-17 season because of NCAA transfer guidelines. He is the only player not on campus.

The Vikings have eight juniors on the roster: Derek Sloan, Bobby Word, Carpenter, Terrell Hales, walk-on Tim Hasbargen are the returnees. Sloan and Word are redshirt juniors. Junior college transfers Jamarcus Hairston, Anthony Wright and Peppers are now on campus.

Rob Edwards, Jibri Blount, and walk-ons Daniel Levitt and Nelson Maxwell are now sophomores, while Evan Clayborne, Thomas and preferred walk-on Andy Lucien round out the roster as the freshmen.

The Vikings will also begin its summer workouts.

Under NCAA guidelines, teams can hold summer workouts for eight hours per week — two with coaches, six without for weight training and conditioning.

Teams can officially begin practice 42 days before the first regular season game, meaning the Vikings can hold its first practice on Sunday, Oct. 2.

CSU's season opener is Nov. 12 against Kent State in Youngstown as part of the second annual Northeast Ohio Coaches vs. Cancer doubleheader.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Cleveland State basketball targeting Iona transfer Jahaad Procter

Jahaad Procter
Cleveland State is one of several schools that Iona transfer Jahaad Procter is considering, according to a tweet from CBS Sport’s Jon Rothstein.
Procter averaged 5.1 points per game for the Gaels last season as a freshmen. He had seven double-digit scoring games, including a season-high 20 points in a win over Fairfield and 18 points in a loss to Akron.

The 6-foot-3 guard from Harrisburg, Pa., is also reportedly considering Valparaiso, High Point, Wright State, UNC Greensboro, Drexel, Towson, and Louisianna Tech.

Procter will have three years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2016-17 season.

As a prep, Procter was a three-time all-state selection playing for Kirk Smallwood at Harrisburg High School.

The all-time leading scorer at Harrisburg High, Procter averaged 24.4 points per game as a senior, leading the Cougars to a Mid-Penn Commonwealth-championship and an appearance in the PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinals.

CSU is also reportedly in the running to land Ohio State transfer AJ Harris.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Report: Former Cleveland State forward Jonothan Janssen will transfer to Hawaii Pacific

Jono Janssen
The first of Cleveland State's three transfers has found a new home.

Jonothan Janssen is headed to Division II Hawaii Pacific, according to recruiting website Verbal

The 6-foot-9 forward from Mountain Creek, Queensland, Australia, appeared in 11 games with CSU this past season as a redshirt freshmen, scoring a total of nine points.

Janssen is immediately eligible and will have three years of eligibility left to play with the Sharks, who finished 19-9 last season.

Guard Myles Hamilton and center Aaron Scales have also received scholarship releases from CSU, but have not yet signed with new schools.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Cleveland State Basketball Signs Hairston, Thomas & Wright To NLI's

Cleveland State officially announced the signings of Jamarcus Hairston (Danville, Va.), Kasheem Thomas (Chateauguay, Quebec, Canada) and Anthony Wright (Harrisburg, Pa.) to National Letters of Intent on Friday.

CSU released the following press release:

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Cleveland State head men's basketball coach Gary Waters has announced the signings of Jamarcus Hairston (Danville, Va.), Kasheem Thomas (Chateauguay, Quebec, Canada) and Anthony Wright (Harrisburg, Pa.) to National Letters of Intent to join the Vikings in 2016-17.
Thomas will have four years of eligibility at CSU, while Hairston and Wright will have two seasons of eligibility.

The trio will join Evan Clayborne (Dayton, Ohio) and Andy Lucien (North Olmsted, Ohio) who joined the Vikings during the early signing period and Gavin Peppers (Brookeville, Md.) who signed with CSU at the start of the late period in April.

Hairston, a 6-foot-8 forward, was named a third team NJCAA Division II All-American at Louisburg JC this past season after averaging 14.1 points and 9.0 rebounds, while shooting 37-percent from three-point. He posted 27 double-digit scoring games and 15 double-digit rebounding games, including a 19-rebound performance in the NJCAA National Tournament. He led Louisburg to a 28-7 record and sixth place finish at the NJCAA Championship this year.

"Jamarcus is a great addition for us," Waters said. "He has the ability to play the four and the five and his length and athleticism will help him at both positions. He can step out and shoot the basketball and also play down on the block. We expect Jamarcus to be an instant contributor for us this upcoming season." 

The 6-foot Thomas earned Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association All-Canadian second team honors in each of last two seasons. This past season, he ranked second in the conference in scoring (18.4) and assists (4.9) and third in free throw percentage (.827), shooting 44-percent from three-point. He averaged 13.5 points, 4.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game as a junior.

"We are excited to bring a player of Kasheem's magnitude into the program," Waters said. "He will provide an immediate lift at the point guard position. He brings quickness, good shooting and ball handling and the ability to penetrate as a point guard. We expect to see big things from Kasheem despite him being just a freshman."

Wright, a 6-foot-6 wing/forward, earned 2016 NJCAA Division I honorable mention All-America honors last year after averaging 17.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 3.3 steals per game, ranking fourth in the nation. He led Harcum JC to a 28-5 record, a Region XV and District 3 championship and a berth in the NJCAA National Tournament as the squad was ranked 14th in the final NJCAA Division I poll.

Wright, who shot 55-percent from the field and 75-percent at the free throw line, finished his as Harcum's all-time leader with 177 career steals, while also ranking eighth in assists (213) and ninth in points (768) and rebounds (335). Wright set a single game school record with 10 steals in a game and made a school-record 107 steals as a sophomore.

"Anthony is a great addition to what we want to do offensively and defensively," Waters said. "His length gives him the ability to defend and make steals, giving us an instant threat on the defensive end. But he also gives us just as much on the offensive end with his ability to score both inside and outside. He has tremendous speed and athleticism and is a great finisher in transition."

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Cleveland State reportedly in running for Ohio State transfer A.J. Harris

A.J. Harris
Former Ohio State point guard A.J. Harris, is reportedly considering Cleveland State as one of his transfer destinations.

According to CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein, Harris is looking at Duquesne, UMass, and Cleveland State. as possible destinations, but hasn't set any visits.

A 5-foot-9, 175-pounder from Dayton, Harris averaged 2.8 points and 1.7 assists while playing in 13.7 minutes a game for the Buckeyes this season as a true freshmen.

He will have three years remaining after sitting out 2016-17 season.

Harris was highly-rated coming out of Dunbar High School in Dayton.

A four-star prospect, Harris was rated the No. 12 point guard, No. 86 prospect in the country and No. 4 player in Ohio according to 247Sports composite ratings.

As a senior, Harris averaged 19.3 points, 5.6 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 steals a game for Dunbar High.

Harris was a high school teammate of current CSU guard Andre Yates - both were on Dunbar's 2012 state championship team, when Yates was a senior and Harris was a freshmen.

Dunbar High has been a recruiting pipeline for the Vikings in recent years, producing CSU great Norris Cole, Aaron Pogue and Yates. CSU signee Evan Clayborne also spent two years at Dunbar before transferring to Dayton Thurgood Marshall High School for his senior year.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Cleveland State basketball receives two verbal commitments

Anthony Wright
Jamarcus Hairston
Cleveland State head coach Gary Waters completed his 2016 recruiting wishlist, picking up the final two pieces on Monday.

In the morning, the Vikings secured a commitment from Louisburg (Junior) College’s Jamarcus Hairston, a third team NJCAA Division II All-American.

Hours later, the Vikings got more good news when they received a commitment from Anthony Wright of Harcum (Junior) College in Philly.

Both visited CSU's campus over the weekend and will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Hairston, a 6-foot-7 stretch four from Danville, Va., averaged 14.1 points and 9.0 rebounds per game for the Hurricanes, shooting 46 percent overall and 37 percent from 3-point range.

According to recruiting website,, Hairston chose the Vikings over offers from Norfolk State, Alcorn State, Hampton and Youngstown State.

Wright is a 6-6 swingman originally from Harrisburg, Pa..

An NJCAA Division I honorable mention All-American, Wright averaged 17.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 3.3 steals per game for the Bears, shooting 54 percent overall and 38 percent from long range.

He is Harcum's all-time steals leader.

Wright chose the Vikings over offers from Alcorn State, Delaware State, and Wagner. He also drew interest from Oregon State.

Hairston and Wright joins Dayton Thurgood Marshall forward Evan Clayborne, North Olmsted forward Andy Lucien, Laramie County Community College point guard Gavin Peppers and Canadian point guard Kash Thomas as members of CSU's 2016-'17 recruiting class.

CSU currently has 14 players on scholarship — the NCAA limit is 13 — meaning some roster movement is expected.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Cleveland State basketball adds second point guard

Kash Thomas

Heading into the offseason, Gary Waters' top priority was to improve the play at the point guard position and add some more shooters.

Cleveland State finished last in the Horizon League in assists, averaging 10.2 dimes a game.

In the last two days, the Vikings have added two new point guards into the mix.

On Friday, CSU signed junior college point guard Gavin Peppers.

On Saturday, Canadian Kasheem "Kash" Thomas announced his commitment to attend CSU in the fall.

"I am excited and bless to announce that I have officially committed to Cleveland State Basketball to continue my academics and basketball career!" Thomas tweeted on Saturday.

Thomas, 5-foot-11, visited CSU's campus on Thursday. He will have four seasons of eligibility.

The Chateauguay, Quebec, Canada native earned Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association All-Canadian second team honors in each of last two seasons.

As a senior, Thomas finished second in the conference in scoring and assists. He averaged 18.4 points and 4.9 assists a game for Champlain College Saint-Lambert in Quebec.

Thomas is a 44 percent shooter from three-point distance and 82 percent from the free throw line.

He played his AAU ball with Brookwood Elite, the same program that groomed CSU walk-on Daniel Levitt.

Peppers, 6-foot-2, gives CSU an experienced scorer.

The Brookeville, Md. native had 10 20-point games as a sophomore, including two games in which he scored over 30 points. His season-high was a 39 point-effort in a victory over Northeastern (Wy.) Junior College.

He's a 36.6 percent shooter from three-point distance and 82.6 percent from the charity stripe.

Overall, Peppers averaged 18.7 points, 3.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds last season for Laramie County Community College in Wyoming.

He was a first team all-region selection.

Peppers will have two years of eligibility remaining.

CSU is still looking to add a wing/forward and a big for next season.

Juco All-American visits Cleveland State this weekend

Anthony Wright
For the second consecutive Saturday, Cleveland State is set to host a junior college swingman.

Anthony Wright, an NJCAA All-American, will visit CSU on Saturday, according to his Twitter account.

Wright, a 6-foot-6 guard/forward from Harrisburg, Pa., averaged 17.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 3.3 steals a game last season as a sophomore for Harcum (Junior) College in Philly.

CSU offered Wright a scholarship on Monday.

Wright, Harcum's all-time leader in steals, currently has six Division I offers to choose from.

Last Saturday, CSU hosted Aundra Jackson, a 6-foot-4 forward from Kennedale, Texas.

Jackson, who averaged 14.7 points and 6.8 rebounds last season as a sophomore for McLennan Community College in Texas, is considering offers from Abilene Christian, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Cleveland State, Loyola, UT-Arlington, Texas State, Southeast Missouri State, Idaho State, Robert Morris and Western Illinois.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Peppers Signs with Cleveland State

As expected, Gavin Peppers signed a National Letter of Intent with Cleveland State on Thursday.

CSU released the following press release:

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Gavin Peppers (Brookeville, Md.), a first team all-region selection at Laramie County CC last season, has signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Cleveland State and play basketball. Peppers will have two seasons of eligibility for the Vikings.

"Gavin fulfills our need for an experienced point guard," CSU head coach Gary Waters said. "He adds the ability to score as a point guard and can also get others involved. He had a phenomenal season at Laramie County and we look forward to him leading the resurgence of Cleveland State basketball."

A 6-foot-2 point guard, Peppers averaged 18.7 points, 3.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game last year, helping LCCC to a 19-12 record and a third place finish in Region IX South with a 9-7 mark. He shot 37-percent from three-point, making 74 three-pointers, and made 83-percent from the free throw line, going 161-of-195.

Peppers scored in double figures in 29 of 31 games, including a season-high 39 points in a victory over Northeastern JC in the regular season finale. It was one of two 30-point performances for Peppers who finished the year with 10, 20-point games.

Peppers spent his freshman season at Olympic College in Bremerton, Wash., where he averaged 15.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists over 16 games.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Canadian point guard to visit Cleveland State

Kash Thomas
Gavin Peppers
The Spring signing period begins today.

Cleveland State has three players currently committed to be a part of the 2016 recruiting class.

Junior college point guard Gavin Peppers is expected to sign with the Vikings - joining early signees forwards Evan Clayborne and Andy Lucien.

Peppers is a 6-foot-3 point guard from Laramie (Wy.) County Community College where he was named all-region.

A Brookeville, Md. native, Peppers averaged 18.7 points, 3.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds last season. He shot 36.8 percent from the floor, including 36.6 percent on 3s (74 of 202), and 82.6 percent at the foul line.

Peppers had 10 20-point games as a sophomore and twice scored over 30 points in a game, including a season-high 39 points in a victory over Northeastern (Wy.) Junior College.

Gary Waters' recruiting wishlist includes adding a second point guard, a big and a wing/forward.

CSU is still setting up visits.

Canadian point guard Kasheem "Kash" Thomas is expected to visit CSU's campus on Thursday, according to his AAU program.

Thomas, who holds an offer from CSU, is from Ch√Ęteauguay, Quebec. He comes from the same AAU program that has produced CSU walk-on freshmen Daniel Levitt.

The 5-foot-11 point guard played last season for Champlain Saint-Lambert College in Quebec where he was named all-Canadian for the second straight year.

Another point guard, Jay McMiller of Horton (Mich.) Hanover-Horton High School, is also expected to visit CSU this month.

McMiller, 6-foot-4, holds offers from CSU, Eastern Illinois and Wright State.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Juco forward visits Cleveland State

Aundre Jackson
Aundre Jackson, a 6-foot-4 forward from Kennedale, Texas, visited Cleveland State's campus on Saturday, according to his Twitter account.

Jackson averaged 14.7 points and 6.8 rebounds last season as a sophomore for McLennan Community College in Texas. He shot 65 percent from the field and 36.6 percent on three-pointers. He was a 70.7 percent free-throw shooter.

In two games of the NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, Jackson averaged 22.5 points and 8 rebounds per game, earning a spot on the All-Tournament Team.

Jackson holds offers from Abilene Christian, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Cleveland State, Loyola, UT-Arlington, Texas State, Southeast Missouri State, Idaho State, Robert Morris and Western Illinois.

As a prep player, Jackson averaged 20 points and eight rebounds a game and was a two-time first-team all-district and all-region selection at Kennedale High School.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Cleveland State adds Juco point guard

Gavin Peppers
In late February, Cleveland State head coach Gary Waters said his top priority heading into the off season was to find an experience point guard through the junior college ranks.

"We are going to bring in a junior college point guard that is as good as they come," Waters said following CSU's loss to Valparaiso in the regular season finale.

At the time, Waters said they were looking at four juco point guards and were still deciding which one they wanted.

On Thursday, Waters found his man.

CSU received a verbal commitment from Gavin Peppers of Laramie (Wy.) County Community College, according to multiple reports.

Marcus Helton of was the first to report the news.

For a team that struggled to put up points last season, getting a player like Peppers is the perfect fit for CSU.

Peppers, a 6-foot-2 point guard who was a first team all-region selection, averaged 18.7 points, 3.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds last season. He shot 36.8 percent from the floor, including 36.6 percent on 3s (74 of 202), and 82.6 percent at the foul line.

The Brookeville, Md. native had 10 20-point games as a sophomore, including two games in which he scored over 30 points. His season-high came in the regular season finale where he dropped 39 points in a victory over Northeastern (Wy.) Junior College.

Peppers is the third commit of CSU's 2016 class, joining Evan Clayborne and Andy Lucien, who signed with the Vikings in November.

The earliest Peppers can sign with the Vikings is April 13.

CSU has three scholarships to fill for the 2016-17 season. Last week, Aaron Scales, Jono Janssen and Myles Hamilton announced they are transferring.

Waters recruiting wishlist includes adding another point guard, a big and a wing/forward.

Cleveland State Basketball targets Rondale Watson from Wake Forest

Rondale Watson
Former Wake Forest guard Rondale Watson, is reportedly considering Cleveland State as one of his transfer destinations.

According to CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein, Watson has cut his list down to the Vikings, Marshall, and Murray State.

Watson, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound sophomore who would have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out a red-shirt year.

The Lewisburg, Wv. native appeared in 23 games with the Demon Deacons, averaging 3.1 points in 14.9 minutes a game. His best game came in a Jan. 13 loss at Virginia Tech where he scored a career-high 11 points in 16 minutes.

CSU has three scholarships to fill for the 2016-17 season.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

3 Cleveland State basketball players get releases, plan to transfer

Jono Janssen
Aaron Scales
Aaron ScalesJono Janssen, and Myles Hamilton will not return to Cleveland State next season and will seek transfers, according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.

CSU spokesperson Greg Murphy confirmed Wednesday that they have received releases and plan to transfer.

Scales and Hamilton have one year of eligibility left, while Janssen has three years left.

Hamilton, a former St. Edward product, was expected to transfer after being dismissed from the team in early January.

The redshirt junior from Cleveland was kicked off the bench in the first half of a Jan. 8 loss to Green Bay following a heated-exchange with head coach Gary Waters. The next day Hamilton was dismissed from the team.

He was also suspended for the first three games this season for a violation of team rules.

Hamilton appeared in nine games with the Vikings, averaging 2.9 points and 2.1 assists per game this past season.

Scales will graduate in May and can transfer to another Division I program without having to sit out a season.

A High Point, N.C native, Scales appeared in 71 games with CSU, averaging 1.3 points and 1.3 rebounds in 6.4 minutes per game.

Scales showed promise in his sophomore year - posting an eight point, nine rebound effort in a loss to VCU, but never found a role in Waters' defensive-minded system.

Janssen, a 6-foot-9 redshirt freshmen from Mountain Creek, Australia, scored nine points in 11 games with the Vikings. His best game came in a loss to Green Bay where he scored seven points in five minutes.

The departures gives CSU three scholarships to fill for the 2016-17 season.

Waters' recruiting wishlist includes a junior college point guard, a second point guard, a big and a wing/forward.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Cleveland State Basketball Set to Host Four-Star Point Guard Markell Johnson

Markell Johnson
Cleveland State basketball will have its highest rated recruit on campus this week since John McLendon brought Julius Erving in for a visit in the 1960's.

Markell Johnson, a four-star 2017 point guard from Cleveland's East Tech High School, will take an unofficial visit to CSU on Friday, he announced on his Twitter account.

According to Johnson, CSU will also host 2017 shooting guard Jarius Ward from Lima Senior High School.

Johnson, who stands 6-foot-1, recently trimmed his list down to five schools, which included CSU.

The other finalists were Ohio State, Louisville, North Carolina State and Virginia Tech.

According to 247Sports composite ratings, Johnson is rated the No. 17 point guard, No. 65 prospect in the country and No. 2 player in Ohio.

Johnson, the Associated Press Division II Player of the Year, averaged 31.2 points a game as a junior, leading the Scarabs to a 21-4 record and a third straight Senate League championship.

He has already taken unofficial visits to OSU (Feb. 28) and Virginia Tech (Feb. 20).

Ward is a 6-foot-1 shooting guard. He averaged 12 points a game last year, helping Lima Senior to a 29-1 record and an appearance in the Division I championship game.

CSU has one player committed for 2017. Garfield Heights shooting guard Shawn Christian committed to the Vikings last week.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Cleveland State lands first recruit in 2017

Shawn Christian
Following Cleveland State's 71-63 loss to Detroit in early February, Vikings head coach Gary Waters told the media that he was going to "bring in some more shooters" to replace the losses of recent transfers Bryn Forbes (Michigan State) and Trey Lewis (Louisville).

On Tuesday, CSU landed one of the top shooters in the Cleveland area.

Shawn Christian, a 6-foot shooting guard from Garfield Heights High School, gave a verbal commitment to Waters on Tuesday.

The news was first reported by Sonny Johnson's Twitter account:

Christian becomes CSU's first recruit in the class of 2017 and is expected to sign with the Vikings in November's early signing period.

The sharp-shooter averaged 13 points a game last year as a junior, but had his big breakout performance in last week's regional semifinals at CSU's Wolstein Center.

Christian scored a game-high 23-points - draining 5 of 7 shots from long range - lifting the Bulldogs to a 49-43 victory over Warren Harding High School in the regional semifinals.

He followed that up with a 10-point performance in the regional finals, including the game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer that sent the game into overtime.

In the overtime sessions, Christian hit two more big three-pointers, helping Garfield Heights advance to Columbus for its second straight state final four with a narrow 70-69 double OT win against St. Ignatius.

Christian is the third Garfield Heights alum to play for Waters, joining Daitwan Eppinger and Lewis.

Monday, March 7, 2016

4-star guard Markell Johnson has Cleveland State in final 5 schools

Cleveland State basketball is in the mix for one of the top point guards in the 2017 recruiting class.

Markell Johnson, a four-star guard from Cleveland's East Tech High School, has the Vikings among his final five schools. Johnson announced his finalists on Monday on his public Twitter account.

Johnson is also considering Ohio State, Louisville, North Carolina State and Virginia Tech.

He's considered the No. 17 point guard and No. 65 overall prospect in the class in the 247Sports composite ratings.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Cleveland State's Rob Edwards named to Horizon Leaugue all-freshman team

Rob Edwards
Cleveland State men's basketball standout Rob Edwards has been named to the Horizon League's all-freshman team, the conference announced today.

Edwards, a Detroit native, averaged 12.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game this season for the Vikings (9-22, 4-14 HL). He finished second in the league in scoring among all freshman, trailing only UIC's Dikembe Dixson who was named Freshman of the Year.

Joining Dixson and Edwards on the all freshman team were Northern Kentucky's Drew McDonald, Detroit's Josh McFolley and Youngstown State's Jordan Andrews.

CSU will be the ninth seed in the upcoming HL Tournament, and open play Saturday at noon against fourth-seeded Green Bay.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Cleveland State men will open HL basketball tournament vs. Green Bay

The Cleveland State men's basketball team will enter this week's Motor City Madness tournament in Detroit, as the No. 9 seed and will face No. 4 Green Bay in the first round.

The Vikings, who dropped three of their last four, finished the regular season at 9-22 overall and 4-14 in the HL, will face the Phoenix (19-12, 11-7 HL) at noon Saturday at Joe Louis Arena.

The tournament field was set following the conclusion of Sunday's contest between UIC and Milwaukee.

Green Bay, winners of four of its last five, are coming off a heart-breaking 70-68 home loss to Valparaiso on Sunday afternoon, falling in the final seconds on a 3-pointer from Shane Hammink.

The Phoenix swept their two conference games with CSU, including a 17-point victory Monday in Green Bay.

Wright State 55, Cleveland State 51: Vikings Rally Falls Short

A 15-point deficit proved to be too much for Cleveland State to overcome as it lost to Wright State, 55-51, on Saturday afternoon at Quicken Loans Arena.

CSU (9-22, 4-14 Horizon League) closed to within two with 16 seconds left, but WSU's Mark Alstork calmly knocked down a pair of free throws to close out the game.

The loss ends CSU's bid for the No. 8 seed in next week's Horizon League tournament. Depending on the outcome of Sunday's UIC-Milwaukee game, CSU will open the HL tournament as either the No. 9 or No. 10 seed.

To receive the No. 9 seed, CSU would need Milwaukee to defeat UIC. If that happens, the Vikings would face Green Bay Saturday at noon.

A UIC win over the Panthers, would give the Flames the No. 9 seed, while the Vikings would open the tournament as the No. 10 seed and face WSU (19-12, 13-5 HL) again Saturday at 4 p.m..

The Vikings struggled to hit shots all game, shooting just 30.4 percent from the field and 7 of 19 from behind the 3-point line.

CSU trailed by as many as 15 with six minutes to go.

A 13-3 run got CSU back into the game. Kenny Carpenter's three-pointer closed the Vikings within 52-47.

Then the Vikings would catch a break as WSU split a pair at the free throw line.

On CSU's next possession, Carpenter had a three-pointer that rattled in-and-out that would have cut the lead down to a one possession game.

"If Kenny's three goes down, you're looking at a whole different game," said Vikings head coach Gary Waters.

CSU would catch another break as WSU's Biggie Minnis (11 points) split a pair at the free throw line.

With 16 seconds left, a four-point play from Rob Edwards closed the Vikings within 53-51, but that was as close as CSU would get.

Alstork drained two free throws for the final score.

CSU's defense held WSU to only three points in the final 2:55, all came from the free throw line. The Raiders made only one of its last five field goals.

The Vikings played again without its second leading scorer Demonte Flannigan who missed his second straight game with a concussion.

"I got to give our kids credit because they never quit. They kept going at it. They kept going at it and they kept going at it," Waters said. "Our biggest problem today was we were without our (second) leading scorer and rebounder. You put him in the game and add his 14 points and we win this game by 10."

Without Flannigan, WSU took advantage of the undersized Vikings inside.

Senior center Michael Karena had his way down low, scoring 12 of his game-high 18 points in the first half as WSU built a 28-22 advantage at the half.

Three times CSU would close to within four early in the second half, but WSU started to take control of the game with a 14-3 run that took a 35-31 lead and pushed it out to a 49-34 advantage.

Cold shooting and turnovers plagued CSU again. During that decisive 14-3 run, CSU turned it over four times and missed five straight shots over a six minute stretch.

"We had 18 turnovers that cost us the game," said Waters. "Every game that we lost we have averaged 17 turnovers a game. Every game that we have won we have averaged eight or nine turnovers a game."

Edwards led the Vikings with 20 points, Carpenter added 13 and Andre Yates nine.

CSU's bench was outscored by a whopping 23-0.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Cleveland State 63, NKU 58: ‘A Total Team Effort’ Lifts Vikings Past Northern Kentucky

With a 63-58 victory over Northern Kentucky Thursday night at the Wolstein Center, Cleveland State moved out of the cellar in the Horizon League and still have a chance to move up to the No. 8 seed in next week's conference tournament.

A CSU (9-21, 4-13 HL) win against Wright State on Saturday and a NKU loss to Youngstown State, also on Saturday, would give the Vikings the No. 8 seed.

If CSU loses Saturday, they could finish with either the No. 9 or No. 10 seed, depending on the outcome of UIC's final two games. The Flames own the tie-breaker over the Vikings because of a win over WSU.

CSU owns the tie-breaker over NKU (8-20, 5-12 HL) because of a season sweep.

The Vikings played without second-leading scorer Demonte Flannigan who suffered a concussion in practice yesterday and was still in the NCAA's concussion protocol. His status for Saturday's game against WSU remains questionable.

"It was a total team effort," said Vikings head coach Gary Waters. "I told them we had three keys to this game; we had to take care of the basketball, we had to limit our fouls and we had to hold them under 60 points. And we did all three."

With Flannigan out, CSU used a balance scoring attack with four Vikings scoring at least eight points.

"(I told them in the locker room) in order to win this game we need a couple of guys that come outside themselves," Waters said. "I told Vinny (Zollo) your goal is to double-your scoring average. I told Rob (Edwards) he had to score more points for us. And Kenny (Carpenter), I told him he had to double what he averages and they did that."

Edwards and Carpenter combined to score 34 points. Andre Yates contributed nine points and five assists with only one turnover. Zollo added eight points and five rebounds.

"We knew if we won the guard battle, we would win the game," Waters said.

Carpenter, who got the start over Terrell Hales, scored 12 of his 15 points in the first half and helped CSU build a 31-24 lead at the half. He played only four minutes in the second half as Waters benched him because of his defense.

The Vikings clamped down on defense in the first half, holding the Norse to just seven field goals in the first 20 minutes.

Edwards carried the offense in the second half as 12 of his 19 points came in the final 20 minutes. His final two points of the game - a pair of free throws - gave CSU the lead for good, 58-51.

But it was back-up center Aaron Scales who made what Waters called "the play of the game."

Scales didn't score a point in the game, but came up with three big offensive rebounds. His last offensive rebound was the one Waters called "the play of the game."

With CSU up one with 1:06 to go, Scales hustled to track down a rebound in the corner, giving the Vikings a second chance - and most importantly - an opportunity to run more clock.

CSU cashed in on the second opportunity as a lay-up by Yates, put the Vikings up 60-57.

The Vikings closed out the game making its free throws to snap its three game losing streak.

Freshmen forward Drew McDonald led the Norse with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Senior forward Jalen Billups added 17, while senior guard Tyler White contributed 11.

Blount returns: Freshmen forward Jibri Blount returned after missing the previous three games with a high-ankle sprain.

Blount came off the bench and contributed eight points and four rebounds in 20 minutes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Green Bay 78, Cleveland State 61.

For just the second time this season, the Cleveland State men's basketball team was unable to hold on to a lead at the half.

The Vikings couldn't hold on to a 38-36 lead at the half as they shot 24.1 percent in the final 20 minutes in a 78-61 loss to Green Bay Monday night at the Resch Center.

CSU (8-21, 3-13 Horizon League) fell to 6-2 when leading at the half.

Senior forward Vinny Zollo returned from a three game suspension for a violation of team rules and led four Vikings in double-figures with 13 points, all of them came in the first half. Zollo was 5-of-11 from the floor and made three three-pointers.

Kenny Carpenter, Rob Edwards and Andre Yates each added 10 points a piece for the Vikings who dropped its fourth straight.

Carrington Love and Charles Cooper scored 15 points a piece to pace four Phoenix (18-11, 10-6 HL) in double figures. The others were Jamar Hurdle (14) and Jordan Fouse (12).

Green Bay shot 50.9 percent from the field. The Phoenix held a huge edge at the free throw line where they made 16-of-29, while CSU was 11-of-13.

Five minutes into the game, the Vikings fell behind 16-6.

But the next five-plus minutes belonged to CSU. They responded with a 15-4 run to take a 21-20 lead.

CSU pushed the lead out to as much as nine in the first half, but a 12-5 run to close out the half got Green Bay within two at the break.

The Vikings shot 53.6 percent from the floor in the opening half, including 5-of-7 from three-point distance.

Zollo (13), Carpenter (10) and Edwards (8) combined for 31 of CSU's 38 points in the first half. The trio shot a combined 12-of-20 from the floor in the first 20 minutes, including all five of CSU's three-pointers.

But the second half was a different story as the trio struggled, shooting a combined 0-of-10 from the field, for two points -  a pair of free throws from Edwards with 4:31 to go when the Vikings were down 17.

The Vikings made its first shot to start the second half, but missed nine of its next 10 as Green Bay started to pull away with a 19-4 run to take a 55-42 lead with 11:58 left to play.

They never got closer then nine the rest of the game as the Phoenix pushed the lead out to as much as 22.

CSU made only seven field goals in the final 20 minutes and were 1-of-13 from three-point distance.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Valparaiso 66, Cleveland State 43: Shorthanded Vikings no match for Crusaders

Playing without forwards Jibri Blount (high ankle sprain) and Vinny Zollo (suspension) and guard Daniel Levitt (knee) still not ready to return, Cleveland State was overwhelmed by the defending Horizon League Champions Valparaiso Crusaders.

CSU was held to a season-low point total in a 66-43 loss to Valpo Tuesday night at Quicken Loans Arena.

"This is the last year, you're going to see junk like this," Vikings head coach Gary Waters said. "This was not good offense. This was bad offense. We could not score."

CSU's (8-19, 3-11 Horizon League) previous low for points scored in a game this year was 45 against Rhode Island in the third game of the season. The Vikings also were held to a season-low for field goals made (14) and were limited to seven field goals in each half. They also turned it over 17 times.

During one stretch in the first half, CSU missed 13 straight shots, including six layups.

Rob Edwards was the only Viking in double-figures with 11 points, but was limited to just seven shots from the field.

"I told some of the guys in the (locker) room, when much is given, much is required," Waters said. "And some players didn't play to their capabilities. This team isn't good enough when your best players can't score."

Waters singled out junior forward Demonte Flannigan for a lackluster performance.

Coming off a career-high 30-point performance Sunday against YSU, Flannigan struggled against the Crusaders, having as many points (six) as turnovers (six).

Flannigan was held to 3 of 10 shooting and even struggled at the free throw line, missing all three attempts from the charity stripe.

"I was disappointed in the performance that Demonte had. It's not the points, it's how he didn't attack them like he attacked YSU," Waters said. "He let (Vashil) Fernandez) take him out of the game. He just shot jump shots and that's what they want him to do."

Valpo (22-5, 12-2 HL) shot 46 percent and used its superior size to its advantage. The Crusaders outrebounded the Vikings by 10 and held a 21-10 edge in second chance points. They also had a 38-14 advantage in points in the paint.

The Crusaders massive frontcourt of 6-foot-9 forward Alec Peters and Fernandez, a 6-foot-10 shot-blocking center, overwhelmed the undersized and undermanned Vikings.

Peters finished with a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Ten of Peters' points came in the first half as he helped Valpo take a 29-17 advantage at the half.

A first-team all-Horizon League selection last year, Peters did most of his damage inside as four of his six field goals came in the paint.

Fernandez made his presence felt on the defensive end with six blocked shots and altered several others. He also contributed four points and two rebounds in 27 minutes.

"He makes the difference for them. If you take him out of the game they wouldn't be in first place right now," Waters said about Fernandez. "Because he's their anchor that holds down the middle."

Valpo used a balance scoring attack with four players scoring at least nine points.

Joining Peters in double-figures were Tevonn Walker with 13 points, while David Skara and Jubril Adekoya each added nine points a piece.

The Vikings dug a hole for themselves by missing eight layups in the first half.

Using its size to its advantage, Valpo exploited CSU inside in the first half as seven of their 12 field goals came in the paint. The Crusaders held a 16-8 edge in points in the paint in the first 20 minutes.

A strong defensive effort kept CSU in the game for most of the first half. The Vikings took four charges in the opening half  and were only down seven with seven minutes to go in the half.

But the Crusaders closed out the half with a 13-8 run to take a 12-point lead at the break.

"I thought if we had made a couple of lay-ups and made our free throws we would have been down four to six points heading into the half," said Waters. "I thought that would have been a great for our team and would have given us a big lift for the second half."

CSU shot just 25 percent (7-of-28) in the opening half, while Valpo shot 37.5 percent (12 of 32).

Both teams made two three-pointers in the first 20 minutes and turned it over seven times. Valpo was 3 of 4 from the free throw line, while CSU was 1 of 5.

In the second half, Valpo kept attacking the rim and shot 55.6 percent in the final 20 minutes as eight of their 15 field goals came in the paint.

CSU was not much better shooting in the second half. The Vikings were held to 7 of 21 shooting (33.3 percent) in the final 20 minutes as Valpo pushed the lead out to as much as 28.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Cleveland State Suspends Vinny Zollo For Violation of Team Rules

Senior forward Vinny Zollo has been suspended for the next three games due to a ‘violation of team rules,’ Cleveland State announced this afternoon.

CSU released the following statement:

"Cleveland State forward Vinny Zollo will miss the Vikings' next three games due to a violation of team rules."

Zollo's suspension begins tonight when the Vikings travel to Youngstown State.

A senior from Greenfield, Ohio, Zollo has averaged 6.7 points and 5.5 rebounds this season.

He started the first 21 games for the Vikings, but lost his starting spot to freshmen Jibri Blount and has been coming off the bench in the last four games.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Oakland 67, Cleveland State 57: Golden Grizzlies have too much firepower in win over Vikings

Too much firepower from Oakland led to a fifth straight loss for Cleveland State, 67-57, Saturday afternoon at the Wolstein Center as the Vikings continue to search for offense.

Two days ago, CSU head coach Gary Waters said if they can consistently have four guys in double-figures they would have a good chance of winning the game.

Unfortunately for CSU, it was the Golden Grizzlies (17-8, 9-3 Horizon League) who had four players in double-figures, while the Vikings (7-18, 2-10 HL) only had two.

"I thought our team really wanted to win today," Waters said. "We didn't shoot well and that hurt us. You can't shoot 41 percent and expect to win, especially to a team of this magnitude.

"I told our kids in the locker room you played a good game, but you had some breakdowns that cost you throughout the game. We don't have a lot of room for error. I did end (our talk) by saying this to them, if you play this way the remainder of the year, you will be in every game you play. Now you got to get over the hump."

Friday, February 5, 2016

Detroit 71, Cleveland State 63: Zone defense stymies Vikings again

Flannigan scores career-high 25 points

By Tom Mieskoski

Cleveland State head coach Gary Waters is never afraid to tell it like it is.

Following CSU's 71-63 loss to Detroit on Thursday night at the Wolstein Center, Waters said he plans to "clean the house" after this season and bring in some more shooters.

"When you see our team a year from now, you're going to see about five other guys who can hit threes," he said after the game.  "I already told them (in the locker room) we are cleaning this house. (Right now), we have about 1 1/2 shooters."

The Vikings (7-17, 2-9 Horizon League) tied season-lows in three-point field goals made (3) and three-point percentage (15 percent) in the loss to the Titans (11-11, 5-6 HL).

Chris Jenkins made six of Detroit's 10 three-pointers and finished with a game-high 20 points.

"We let Jenkins get away. That's on us," said Waters. "I'm a believer if you allow a team to hit (10) threes you have a great chance of losing. Think about the Cavaliers, when they beat teams, they hit their threes. If they don't hit their threes, they have a chance to lose. That's why the three has become a viable weapon today."

It was only two years ago, that CSU finished second in the nation in three-point percentage (.409) during the 2013-14 season.

But recent transfers of Bryn Forbes and Trey Lewis have left CSU thin on shooters.

Entering Thursday game against Detroit, CSU was ninth in the HL in three-point percentage (.323), trailing only UIC (.304).

With freshmen walk-on Daniel Levitt still out with a knee injury, CSU is down to only one consistent shooter in Rob Edward.

Unfortunately for the Vikings, Edwards struggled against the Titans and missed all six of his attempts from long range. He finished with seven points on 2-of-10 shooting from the field.

It was a tail of two different shooting halves for the Vikings.

CSU got off to a slow start, making only one of its first nine shots from the field. But the Vikings finished the half strong, making 14 of its last 23 shots and trailed 33-31 at the break.

The Vikings also started the second half strong, making two of its first five shots, but then Detroit switched to a 2-3 zone and their shooting woes started.

They made only one of its next seven shots, while Detroit started to pull away.

With the game deadlocked at 36-36, a 15-2 run over the next five minutes, capped off by back-to-back three-pointers from Jenkins, gave the Titans a 51-38 lead and they never looked back.

"They knew they couldn't guard us inside, so they stayed in the (2-3) zone and dared us to shoot it," said Waters. "They usually don't run a 2-3 zone. That tells you they knew how bad we were (at shooting from the perimeter). They usually run a 3-2 zone. When you run a 3-2 there is only two guys on the baseline, then you can get it in (down low). But with three on the baseline, they (wanted) our guards to shoot it."

Waters' young squad struggled to attack the zone and kept settling for outside shots in the second half.

Almost half of CSU's shot attempts in the second half, came from beyond the three-point line, where they were 3-of-13 shooting.

"This team was beatable today," said Waters. "We just couldn't hit any shots. Think about it. They played man-to-man in the first half and we shot 47 percent. They played zone all the second half and we shot 37 percent. That's the difference in the game."

Demonte Flannigan had his best game as a Viking, scoring 19 of his career-high 25 points in the first half.

"He (Flannigan) came in to my office yesterday and before the game and said, "I'm going to be a beast today." said Waters. "They couldn't stop him in there. You can't beat a team with just one guy. I told them (in the locker room) if we had four people in double-figures we will be in every game to win."

Flannigan, a Villa Angela-St. Joseph product, had his way against Detroit's man-to-man defense in the first half, shooting 9-of-12 from the field. But in the second half, Detroit's 2-3 zone limited Flannigan to just three shots in the final 20 minutes.

Vinny Zollo was the only other Viking in double-figures, finishing with a career-high 16 points. He made two of CSU's three 3-pointers and finished 6-of-9 from the floor.

Detroit posted four players in double-figures. Carlton Brundidge added 12 points for the Titans, while Jaleel Hogan and Gerald Blackshear had 10 points a piece.

"It comes down to can we hit some shots and that's what we can't do," said Waters. "Until we do a better job of (shooting), it's going to be hard for us to win games. Some days we hit shots, some days we don't."

In remembrance: The Titans wore a large decal with the letters "TR" on their jerseys in honor of Reggie Hall, a sports producer for WXYZ in Detroit who died in a car crash in December.

Hall, who was known as "Titan Reggie," played baseball at UD and was a huge Titans fan.

Yates returns: Andre Yates returned after missing the previous two games with high ankle sprain and plantar faciatis.

Yates, who came off bench, had four points in 26 minutes. He started the second half in place of Terrell Hales.

"He is still struggling (with the injuries) a little bit," said Waters.

Buddha sighting:  Yates wasn't the only change Waters made at the half. Freshmen forward Jeron "Buddha" Rogers started the second half in place of Jibri Blount.

"We didn't have anyone to guard Paris Bass," said Waters. "That's why he started (the second half).

Next up: CSU host the Oakland Grizzlies men and women's basketball teams in a double-header on Saturday. The CSU men tip-off at 1 p.m., followed by the women's game.

Prior to the men's game, former CSU standout Norris Cole will be honored by having his jersey number, 30, retired.

Then at half-time, Kailey Klein will be honored by having her jersey number, 23, retired.