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."
Demonte Flannigan recorded his second straight double-double, tallying 19 points and 12 boards to lead the Vikings, while Kenny Carpenter added 13 off the bench.
Outside of Flannigan and Carpenter, CSU got very little offense from anybody else. The rest of CSU's four starters combined to score only 15 points, while its bench was outscored by 16.
Rob Edwards had a tough night shooting, going 2-of-8, for eight points.
Andre Yates hasn't been the same player since suffering a high-ankle sprain and plantar faciatis against Youngstown State on Jan. 24. Yates continues to be a shadow of his former self and went scoreless in 20 minutes. He missed his only two shots from the field.
Prior to his injury, Yates was playing some of his best basketball at CSU, averaging 11.6 points, while shooting 50 percent from the field in his previous six games.
In two games, since returning from the injury, Yates has scored a total of four points and is shooting 2-of-9 from the field. He has more turnovers (six) then field goals made (two).
Despite its shooting woes, CSU put together one of its best defensive performances of the season.
The Vikings held the nation's second highest scoring team to 20 points under its scoring average of 87 points a game. The Golden Grizzlies shot 40.4 percent from the field, including 4-of-16 from three-point distance.
"(After the game), Kampe told me this is the best any team has played us defensively all year long," said Waters.
Jalen Hayes posted 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Golden Grizzlies who won its sixth straight. Percy Gibson and Martez Walker gave OU a lift of the bench, scoring 14 points a piece. Kay Felder was held to a season-low 13 points and also dished out 11 assists.
Felder, who's fourth in the nation in scoring (25.2 points), was held to 3-of-11 shooting and missed all four attempts from three-point distance. CSU used a combination of Terrell Hales, Andre Yates and walk-on Nelson Maxwell to keep Felder in check.
CSU also did a good job defensively on Max Hooper, holding the sharp-shooter to 1-of-6 shooting from long range. Hooper finished with five points in 30 minutes.
During CSU's 18 point loss in Rochester, Mich. last month, Felder and Hooper combined for 35 points on 12-of-21 shooting from the field.
The Vikings actually outshot the Golden Grizzlies.
CSU made one more field goal (24-23) and one more three-pointer (5-4) then OU. Overall, CSU shot 41.4 percent from the field, including 33.3 percent from three-point distance.
"I thought we defended them extremely hard, but we didn't do it on the other end," said Waters. "The other end wasn't them, the other end was us. We probably missed six or seven bunnies. If we made them it would have been a different game."
The Golden Grizzles won the game at the free throw line where they got to the charity stripe 21 times, making 17 of them. Felder (7-of-7) had as many free throw attempts as CSU's entire team combined (4-of-7).
Inspired by Norris Cole's jersey retirement prior to the game and with LeBron James sitting courtside, CSU got off to a fast start.
They took an early 12-8 lead at the first media timeout. Flannigan missed his first four shot attempts, then made his next four and scored nine of the Vikings' first 12 points.
CSU pushed the lead out to as much as seven points in the opening half, but OU outscored the Vikings 28-16 the rest of the half and took a 38-33 lead at the break.
Flannigan and Carpenter paced the Vikings with nine points a piece in the first half, while Martez Walker led the Golden Grizzlies with 10. Felder had seven points and six rebounds in the first 20 minutes.
The Vikings started the second half strong, making five of its first 11 shots to close to within 46-44 at the under 12 media timeout. But OU responded with a 10-4 run to take control of the game, pushing the lead out to 56-48 and the Vikings never got closer then six the rest of the way.
"I know it's not pretty. It's not how Cleveland State usually functions, but what I got to say is the kids are really trying," said Waters. "They know they're limited in certain areas. We're not a great shooting team. We don't have a point guard and are playing a walk-on at the point. And you'll never see that again, but they are still fighting."