CSU upsets No. 7 Vanderbilt

By Emmett Golden

While most of you were being tortured by the Browns Sunday afternoon, the Cleveland State Vikings were on the road giving Cleveland something to feel good about. Gary Waters and the crew defeated seventh ranked Vanderbilt 71-58 in a regional game of the Legends Classic.

The Vikings were lead by senior swingman D’Aundray Brown. Brown led the team with 18 points. In his first game after missing all of last year with a wrist injury, he also pulled down 8 rebounds and picked Vandy’s pocket for 7 steals.

The difference in this game was the play of the bench. Freshman Anton Grady and Sebastian Douglas both scored 7 points. Sophomore Devin Long chipped in with 5 points as the Vikings opened up their season with what may become a signature win for this team.

CSU returns to Cleveland Tuesday night, taking on Rio Grande at 7pm.

Follow Emmett on Twitter @EGoldie80

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Cleveland State: Will You Be There?

By: Emmett Golden

Attention Cleveland! There will be basketball this year. The Horizon League regular season champion, Cleveland State Vikings are back. Coach Gary Waters has a good mix of seniors and underclassmen this year. Even after losing the conference player of the year in Norris Cole, the Vikings have five returning starters.

Senior D’Aundray Brown, who miss all of last season with an injury is back at 100 percent. Starters Trey Harmon, Jeremy Montgomery, Tim Kamczyc, and Aaron Pogue all return as well.

This should be another good year for CSU but will Cleveland notice?

D'Aundray Brown of the Vikings

On many nights last year I watched a group of young men play a very entertaining style of basketball. They defended, pushed the rock up the court, and scraped their way to a league title and a trip to the NIT.

The only time the city got behind this team was when the Butler came to town. There was a “decent” crowd for the last home game of the year when a win meant not having to share the league title.

I know how fans will rationalize their lack of support. They will say, “Hey when we did get behind them they loss.” sorry Cleveland sports fans, that is a lame excuse. During the football season you (the Cleveland sports fan) sellout Cleveland Browns Stadium to watch the Browns lose, almost every Sunday.

You pay twice, in most cases three times the ticket price to watch what has been a last place team lose. When was the last time the Browns even played a meaningful game?

More people go to see the Gladiators and Monsters play and no offense to them but that is inexcusable. At the very least the crowds should be equal. Don’t let the “mid” in mid-major fool you.

Cleveland State is a major college basketball program. The only mid-major team that has been more successful than the Vikings is Butler. That may be where the problem is.

The issue with fans in Cleveland is that their expectations are always ridiculous. Fans in Cleveland see Butler make it to the Final Four and the championship game and think, “Why isn’t Cleveland State making it that far?” not many teams do people.

Instead of expecting Final Four appearances why not just support kids that play and STAY for four years. I am not saying that the Vikings are the best team in college basketball, I’m saying they deserve your support.

The best thing about the NBA lockout is that if you want to see some basketball you won’t have many choices. Maybe your local high school or sitting on your couch watching college teams in other cities and states play.

That might satisfy your basketball jones but the experience won’t be the same. Did you know that last year when the Cavaliers players wanted to watch some basketball, they came to CSU?

Why wouldn’t you do the same?

I will tell you this, if you go to the Wolstein Center this year to see the Vikings play, win or lose, you will enjoy yourself. I’m challenging you Cleveland! Be the great sports fans that I know you are.

Support YOUR college basketball team.

Anywhere But South Beach

By Emmet Golden

Just when you thought Miami couldn’t take anything else from Cleveland, the Chicago Bulls traded their 28th pick to the Heat. That pick was CSU’s Mr. Everything, Norris Cole.

I had the pleasure of covering Norris during his epic senior year at Cleveland State. A year in which Cole was named Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year and League MVP. Don’t forget about the night in February when he scored 41points and snatched 20 rebounds against Youngstown State. Oh yeah, he had 9 assists that night too.

Now Norris Cole’s talents are headed to South Beach. I have said plenty of times I will never root for the Heat as long as you know who plays there. Now that Norris is a part of that team – I STILL WON’T ROOT FOR THEM!

Although I WILL root for Norris.

If you have ever met this young man there is no way you can root against him. He is just too good of a person to spew negativity toward. You can tell he is just a good person. Very smart and very respectful. Someone his mother and father can be proud of (and they are).

So let me say, congratulations Norris, I wish “you” nothing but the best!

 

A Telling Weekend

By Michael Reghi

Ohio State gets strong armed by E’Twaun Moore and Purdue, Cleveland State allows more offensive rebounds to an opponent then their total boards, and the MAC wins but 5 of the 12 BracketBuster games they play over the weekend. Not a promising picture of what’s to come as February’s stretch runs turn toward the bright lights of first conference, and then hopefully for many, the NCAA Tournament. Let’s examine more closely. With ‘MUST DO’S” factoring in prominently!

*** E’Twaun Moore’s 38 point explosion on Ohio State is one thing, and he was sensational, just as Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor was, in dropping 27 on the Bucks ‘d’ last weekend, in Ohio State’s first road loss. Very clear to me the key to an Ohio State long, and satisfying run in the tournament. And it’s not Jordan Sullinger. It’s backcourt sharp shooter William Buford. Yep, the Bucks don’t last long if Buford suffers through foul trouble, and a poor shooting performance, as he did Sunday. He must be consistently strong for the Buckeyes to make an Elite 8 run or beyond. What always is the trump card in the tournament? Guard play, and Buford is clearly Ohio State’s most dominant and talented guard. While David Lighty can slash, and looks to get to the rim, and Jon Diebler makes his mark by coming off screens in catch and shoot fashion, it’s Buford who incorporates all the facets the Buckeyes need offensively to help balance the attention that will be placed on Sullinger. William Buford’s production. Watch it. An absolute ‘MUST’ for Ohio State to stick around for a long run.

*** If Gary Waters and his Cleveland State Vikings needed a serious wake-up call regarding how important getting the ball off the glass is in a tournament style setting, they were handed the blueprint by the nation’s second best rebounding margin squad yesterday in Norfolk, Virginia! Old Dominion absolutely terrorized the Vikes yesterday with a ‘plus 29’ advantage on the glass. 53-24! The Vikings watched missed shot after missed shot be rebounded for second, third, fourth, and yes, even fifth chance opportunities on many possessions! Needless to say, the Vikes won’t be around long in the Horizon League Tourney, let alone make their way to the NCAA Party, with lack of effort like this on the glass.

It came on an afternoon, unfortunately, when Norris Cole, who could be working his way into the late first round of the NBA Draft, was again dazzling! Cole dropped 24 first half points on his way to a BracketBuster record 35 on the day, using an array of slashes to the rim, along with his long range bombing. Cleveland State has other offensive capability in Jeremy Montgomery, Tre Harmon, and Aaron Pogue. Pogue, again, a nonfactor, while Harmon and Montgomery accumulated most of their damage after the Vikings fell behind by double digits. Gary Waters ‘MUST’ get the balance back in the Vikings offensive machine. That is unquestionably, when the Vikings are at their attacking best!

***I’ve discussed all season the lack of an ‘elite’ team in the Mid American Conference this basketball season. There are a couple of good programs, but none that stand out. That was never more apparent then this weekend, as the MAC dropped 7 of the 12 BracketBuster games it played. The MAC’s best in late February, Kent State and Miami, both lost on the road at Drexel and James Madison, respectively. Akron, gaining steam with their veteran group, won their fifth straight, by whipping a tough Creighton squad from the Missouri Valley at home. Buffalo and Ohio, each looking to add intrigue to the upcoming MAC Tournament, posted wins – Bulls at home, while the ‘Cats won on the road at Winthrop. Here’s the deal…literally, any of six squads in my estimation, could potentially win the MAC tourney. Is that good for the league? Fans might say ‘yes’. While it may bring some excitement over three days and seven games to downtown Cleveland, the conference’s RPI continues to plummet. Look for the teams in the final two weeks that can win on the road, especially in the MAC East, and who have the staying power to win three games in three days, which some of the six don’t. The MAC ‘MUST’ get back to the relevancy it established in sending multiple teams to the NCAA tournament, and winning games when there, as they did from the late 90’s into the early years of this decade. Until that is achieved, the ‘one bid league’ handle is going to continue to apply.

Glass Battle Does In Vikings

By: Emmett Golden

The Cleveland State Vikings drop a tough one to Old Dominion 74-63 Sunday afternoon. Norris Cole scored 35 points to set a new Bracket Busters record. CSU got crushed on the glass, losing the rebounding battle 51-22.

 

Cleveland State Guard Norris Cole

Old Dominion showed offensive balance by having four players in double figures, lead by Kent Bazemore with 18.

 

Cole was the only offense for CSU. Trey Harmon and Jeremy Montgomery struggled from the field all game and big man Aaron Pogue was in foul trouble most of the afternoon. The Vikings went seven minutes without a basket in the first half and had a six-minute drought in the second.

If the Vikings plan on making the big dance they will have to win their last two games, as well as needing a little help from Valpo and other teams on the NCAA bubble.

The Butler Did It, (Again) To Cleveland State

By: Emmett Golden

The Cleveland State Vikings lost a tough one to Butler 73-61.

Cleveland State Coach Gary Waters (Courtesy of Cleveland Plain Dealer)

With 8,490 screaming fans dress in all black behind them, CSU never hit their offensive stride. The game had a promising start. Jeremy Montgomery, who finished with a team high 18 points, hit three consecutive threes and Norris Cole added a lay-up put the Vikings up 16-8 with 11:49 left in the first half. That’s when Butler went on a 18-6 run to take a 26-22 lead at the 5:05 mark in the first half. Both teams traded baskets after that and Butler ended the half with a 33-29 lead.

The second half began with consecutive baskets by Aaron Pogue and Trey Harmon to tie the score at 33-33. Trey and Aaron both picked up their third fouls shortly after that. Both players spent most of the game on the bench due to foul trouble. “They had Trey handcuffed, and he never was able to rebound from that” said coach Waters.

The second half remained tight until Butler’s Matt Howard sank two big threes. The second three Howard hit put Butler up by ten with 4:48 left in the game, a lead that was too much for the Vikings to over come. “My team has confidence in me to shoot so I just shot it and it went in.” said Howard.

Norris Cole was 4-13 from the field and had to fight through double teams all day on his way to 15 points and 4 assists. “They play well against us, but that’s on us. When we won the championship we lost to them twice and beat them in the tournament, so we will see them again and we’ll be ready.” said Cole.

The Vikings are now 10-3 in conference play, a half game ahead of Valpo for first place. They hit the road to face Detroit Monday night.

Glass Half Full Tavern

By: Munch

(It’s still a) GREAT SATURDAY afternoon to YOU C TOWN…you know I LOVE and LIVE YA’ BIG CITY…how are you friend?  Let’s talk about…

…the CSU Vikings!  CSU was so aggressive Thursday vs Valpo and not sure where that went again today!  WHERE WAS THE DEFENSE?  So cool and WAY TO GO FANS packing the Wolstein Center but gotta ask:

* Did the believe too much hype about themselves?

* Did YSU beating Butler Thursday make CSU think they just needed to be there?

* Did the bright lights cause them to forget their lines?

No matter what, this was NOT GOOD for CSU as a program in winning friends.  The FANS will always be there!  They will bounce back BUT MUST WIN IN THE TOURNEY or after thought, here we come again!!

Look at the WIN over WAKE in the NCAA’s!  What did it do?  SADLY NOTHING for the “so called fans.”  C’mon people, WAKE UP!  You have a great coach and fun  team but bottom line on this one…the VIKINGS NEEDED TO WIN AND DID NOT.  Cool that we are talking about it, writing about it and bemoaning the loss BUT a WIN was needed to keep the FAN BASE ROCKIN’.  Now, most of them will be reelin’!  MY glass is half full, but my first thoughts when the game is ended…DANG, ANOTHER LOSS FOR THE CITY AND ONE OF OUR TEAMS WHEN A WIN TRULY WAS NEEDED.

I’m bummed and tonight we get to see the CAVS set the NBA record for most losses in a row.  DANG!  I do not like the pain and yes, this hurts!

Enjoy every sandwich.

Adios Amigos,

Munch

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