Tag Archives: Marlin Mason

Cleveland State Wrestlers Take Clarion Open by Storm

It didn’t take much for the Cleveland State wrestling team to come out of the gates quickly in the 2015-16 season. The Woodling Warriors, as they’ve dubbed themselves on social media, went into the Clarion Open and had five wrestlers finish in the top four in the tournament.

Leading the way, naturally, was nationally-ranked Riley Shaw, who took the title in the heavyweight division.  The senior cruised through his opening matches before running into some resistance at the hands of Pat Gillen of Virginia during the semifinals.

But top-seeded Shaw prevailed in the end with a 3-2 decision. The finals pitted him against Austin Meyers, who wrestles for West Virginia but was competing independently for this tourney. Again, Shaw overcame a strong challenge to win, 3-2, and take the crown.

Thanks to his performance, Shaw was rewarded by moving up two spots in the FloWrestling.com rankings at heavyweight, putting him at No. 8.

“I knew we had some tough guys in the weight class coming in,” Shaw said. “I took it one match at a time. Had three pretty close matches in a row but we stuck to the game plan.”

Junior Nick Montgomery also had an outstanding showing at 149 pounds, tearing through his competition, which included two major decisions, as well as a 17-0 technical fall in the opening bout against Sean Caruso. Montgomery, however, fell in the championship round to TJ Miller of UVA, 5-2, placing second.

Sam Wheeler, who was seeded second at 197 pounds and scored a major decision in his opening round, found a bit more resistance, but overcame challenges by Edgar Ruano and Dom Carfagno. Ultimately, he finished third after falling to Pat Sprenkle of Lock Haven and his consolation opponent, Garrett Linebringer of Notre Dame College, forfeited.

As one of three CSU grapplers who competed as unattached for this event, Nick Corba scored major decisions in his opening matches at 184 pounds. But the junior was relegated to the consolation round when Lock Haven’s TJ Sponseller eked out a 4-3 win in the semi-finals. Corba recovered and pulled out a 6-5 win against Corey Hazel of Lock Hazen to place third.

Gabe Stark had a tougher road to travel at 174 pounds, when he dropped his second-round match-up against Army’s Ben Harvey. The junior bounced back by winning five in a row, including a pair of pins. In the third-place match, though, he faced Harvey again, and the Cadet bested Stark once more, resulting in a fourth-place finish.

Sophomore Mike Konstandaras opened the tourney on fire, scoring a 3-2 upset on third-seeded Korbin Myers and a pin on Brett Himes. But an 8-1 decision at the hands of Notre Dame’s Jacob Goodwin sent him down to the consolation round. He took three matches in that bracket, including a fall on Austin McDermitt, before suffering a major decision loss against Brandon James to wind up fifth.

The Vikings will be back in action this Sunday, when they open up the home schedule at Woodling Gym with a match against cross-town foe John Carroll, a rivalry that began in 1964 and was won handily by Cleveland State last season, 39-3.

Mason Picked Up By the D-League

There has been some speculation as to where former Cleveland State basketball player Marlin Mason would play after graduation. After all, in addition to the transfers of the already-graduated Anton Grady and Trey Lewis, Charlie Lee has already found a home abroad in Norway, playing for the Tromso Storm.

An earlier report had Argentinian club Regates Corrientes showing interest in the 6-6 forward. However, nothing really came to fruition.

Now, it appears that Mason may have a chance to play professionally at home. The NBA Developmental League held its annual draft, and Mason was selected in the fifth round by the Delaware 87ers, the affiliate team of the Philadelphia 76ers.

With his selection, Mason joins eight other former Vikings in being picked by a D-League team. And that list contains a few surprises.

The first Cleveland State player to be selected in the D-League draft was Derrick Ziegler. After finishing his college career in 1997, Ziegler was snapped up in the fifth round by the Roanoke Dazzle five years later, in 2002.

In 2003, the Columbus Riverdragons came calling for another Viking, this time selecting forward Tahric Gosley in the ninth round. The biggest head-scratcher was the drafting of Walt Waters in the fourth round by the Austin Spurs in 2006. Waters had only spent the 2003-04 season with CSU, was declared academically ineligible and basically fell off the planet prior to the selection.

A pair of former Vikings appeared on the board during the 2008 draft, when 2007 grads Raheem Moss and Carlos English were selected in the seventh and 10th rounds, respectively. English would eventually make the Dakota Wizards squad before spending two season with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

J’Nathan Bullock also was drafted by a D-League team after his stint with the New York Jets, going to the New Mexico Thunderbirds in the sixth round. Bullock was subsequently waived and has played internationally since, with a short stay with the Maine Red Claws during training camp.

2012 saw the last former CSU players selected prior to Mason, with D’Aundray Brown as the Canton Charge’s first-round pick and Trevon Harmon going in the seventh round to the Bakersfield Jam. While Harmon was waived, Brown played 24 games and three playoff contests with the Charge during the 2012-13 season.

Considering there is no guarantee of a roster spot, let alone playing time, for Mason, at the very least the selection by the 87ers will give him an opportunity to be looked at by other teams, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Cleveland State's Season Ends at NJIT

When you go up against a team like the New Jersey Institute of Technology that treats this game like it’s the NCAA championship game, you have to know what to expect.

Unfortunately, for one Cleveland State basketball player, those expectations didn’t stop a violation of team rules.

For the second time this season, senior Charlie Lee found himself sitting out of another Vikings contest. The first time, of course, was his six-game vacation at the start of the season.

This time, however, instead of getting another opportunity to redeem himself, Cleveland State’s season has officially come to a close.

Host NJIT rode hot three-point shooting all the way to the end of the game, when a Ky Howard triple basically willed itself into the basket after bouncing around the rim multiple times. It turned out to be the game-winner, giving the Highlanders an 80-77 win over the Vikings.

Naturally, NJIT fans who made their way to the miniscule Fleischer Center did what you’d pretty much expect what folks rooting for a team who treats this like their championship would do. They rushed the court. Given the Highlanders’ history which includes a 51-game losing streak in their early years in Division I, their enthusiasm is understandable.

Cleveland State, on the other hand, gets to once again asked itself the dreaded question of what would have been the outcome had Lee been on the court. Speculation, it would appear, is all Viking fans will have left of this season.

Well, that and wonder what it must be like to have that rabid a fan base for such a small school that’s struggled since its entry into Division I and been without a conference since 2013.

Personally, I’d love to see a rematch with NJIT next season. It would have to be at the Wolstein Center, though. It’s still odd to see a college sports venue that is about half the size of the gym I had in high school.

While Lee squandered his chance to extend his season, the other senior on the roster, Marlin Mason, had one of the best games of his career. Starting the game, naturally, with a thunderous dunk, Mason switched to outside the three-point line, connecting on five of seven attempts. Of course, he would have loved to have hit that sixth three with nine second left in the game, but it was not to be.

Then there was Anton Grady, who notched his final double-double of the season, leading everyone with 26 points and 11 rebounds. This post-season has also provided the junior forward with the green light to shoot three-pointers to expand his range, and he hit another in the defeat.

Grady and Mason’s production was sorely needed, as leading scorer Trey Lewis was defended heavily for the most of the game, limited to six shots and hitting one 1-of-4 from beyond the arc.

With Lee out, head coach Gary Waters had to turn to somebody, and apparently, it was freshman Kenny Carpenter, who had been used sparingly throughout the season. Clearly, he was well-rested, because in his 27 minutes, he pulled down seven boards and scoring six points, including a three-pointer at the end of the first half that gave the Vikings a 44-39 lead.

It’s not clear whether this was a one-off performance, but with minutes at the guard spot likely to remain at a premium next season, it sets up an interesting competition between Carpenter and fellow freshman Terrelle Hales.

As much production as Cleveland State was getting on the offensive end (49 percent shooting), NJIT was far better. The vaunted Viking pressure defense didn’t seem to take in this match-up, allowing the Highlanders to practically score at will at times. Led by Winfield Willis, NJIT shot an unthinkable 54.5 percent from the field and made 50 percent of its shots beyond the arc.

For long stretches of the game, CSU had to play catch-up with the Highlanders, forced to crawl back from three seven-point gaps and two eight-point deficits; one at the start of the game and an one with 5:26 left in the game.

With Waters opting to use an eight-man rotation, it appeared that the extended minutes and the wear and tear of the season caught up with the Vikings, which went along with a small but lively crowd and a little bit of magic for Howard with the game-closing triple.

And so, with the loss, the Season of Blah has finally ended. Cleveland State, the last Horizon League team in the post-season, finished at 19-15. It’s another winning season, certainly, but there were so many missed opportunities to accomplish more.

It also means that the media will turn its attention to other things, like Browns dysfunction, Cavs dysfunction (maybe), the Indians (maybe), watching paint dry, etc. Of course, it looks like Cleveland.com started pulling its attention early, not even running a story online, despite the fact that Advance sister publication NJ.com was all over it.

I guess the draw of the NCAA Tournament games at Quicken Loans Arena were too great a pull. With Cleveland State as a co-sponsor with the MAC, I’m sure that won’t cause any awkwardness at all.

While there is so much more to be said about this season for the Vikings, that will be reserved for another day. So, instead, let us all recite that time-old and most Cleveland of sayings:

There’s always next year.

Cleveland State Hammers Western Michigan to Move on in the CIT

With a third-tier tournament such as the CollegeInsiders.com Tournament, it’s hard to get an idea on what kind of intensity teams will come out with. For some, the wear of the long season and the lack of motivation to play can turn a usually-stalwart team into a tub of goo.

So when Cleveland State traveled to Kalamazoo to play Western Michigan in its first-round CIT match-up, nobody was really sure how the Vikings would come out against the Broncos. Would they come out with fire that fueled them during their wins against Green Bay? Or would they come out flat, as they did in their losses down the stretch.

We got our answer: Cleveland State 86, Western Michigan 57.

And the Vikings made it look really easy.

In fact, the only trouble anybody faced during the game were the fans, who spent the opening part of the game scrambling to find their radios when the CIT video feed went on the blink. And when it came back, they were greeted by a broadcast team that apparently doesn’t read their notes.

Both Anton Grady and Andre Yates, who wear Nos. 15 and 1, respectively, switched jersey numbers for the CIT opener to 5 for Grady and 2 for Yates. Despite the fact that CSU Sports Information director Greg Murphy passed along the changes, that didn’t stop the announcers from confusing Yates with transfer Myles Hamilton, who is sitting out this season, and Grady for red-shirted Jono Janssen.

Other than that, it was probably one of the most dominant offensive games the Vikings have had all season against a team not named Mt. Vernon Nazarene.

As it turned out, the three-pointer, which has been a problem for Cleveland State when it shot far too many, wasn’t really a problem against the Broncos. The Vikings were scorching from beyond the arc, shooting 52 percent, hitting on 13, which was one short of an all-time record.

Speaking of records, Charlie Lee, who was looking to extend his final season a little longer, was really eyeing the single-game mark of nine triples set by Percell Coles in 2003 and Trey Lewis earlier this season. He came up one short, but led all scorers with 28 points and dished out six assists.

Even Grady got into the three-point act himself. He ended up shooting as many treys in this game (three) as he had the entire season, hitting on two of them.

For everything Grady has done this season in the paint and from the perimeter, if the three-pointer becomes a part of his arsenal next season, he’s going to be far more dangerous to Horizon League opponents.

Given the online broadcasting difficulties, most fans not listening to the play-by-play broadcast from Al Pawlowski probably missed the opening minute and a half, which saw Western Michigan with what would be its only lead of the game at 5-3. That’s when the Vikings ripped off a 13-2 run led by Lee, Grady and Marlin Mason.

Ironically, Pawlowski mentioned that this was a good CSU game to watch during this run, as many were still trying in vain to get the streaming video to work.

Of course, it didn’t looking like it would turn into the romp it did later on in the first half, as the Vikings, who led 26-11 at the 12-minute media timeout, went cold for five minutes, allowing WMU to cut the lead to six. Then Lee went unconscious, swishing home a trio of triples that would have made the ball catch fire in his hands like the old NBA Jam video game.

By halftime, Cleveland State was comfortably ahead of the Broncos, 49-31. And then, to start off the second half, the Vikings decided to have a little fun.

CSU opened the half with three dunks; a breakaway from Trey Lewis and two alley-oops, with Mason on the receiving end of the flush.

For those scoring at home, it should be noted that Mason’s Twitter handle is, in fact, @flight_Mason21. He had three slams in the game, as part of his 13 points. It’s safe to say he lived up to his handle in the win.

The Viking lead was well over 30 for most of the closing minutes during the game, and since the victory was assured, it gave head coach Gary Waters the opportunity to give his top players some much-needed rest down the stretch.

Lee and Mason were joined as scoring leaders by Grady, who finished with 21 points to go along with 14 rebounds as part of yet another double-double. Lewis, who was quiet in the first half, scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half.

Oddly enough, Cleveland State is now the only Horizon League team left playing in the post-season. Valparaiso fell in its opening round game of the NCAA Tournament to Maryland. Green Bay, the conference’s only representative in the NIT, lost, 69-56, to CSU guard Kaza Keane’s former team, Illinois State. And Oakland dropped a rare decision in the O’Rena in its CIT opener against Eastern Illinois, 97-91.

The Viking men also outpaced the women, who played in the first round of the WNIT at the same time as their male counterparts, losing to Michigan, 72-50. The CSU women’s basketball team finished its season at 19-13 and saw its three seniors, Cori Coleman, Imani Gordon and Kiersten Green, score more than 1,000 points each for their careers, a Cleveland State first.

For the men, the CIT continues on Monday, when they travel to Newark to play the New Jersey Institute of Technology, who hold the distinction of being the only Division I school without a conference and going into Crisler Arena and beating the Wolverines earlier in the season.

Cleveland State Keeps Rolling, Even With Injuries and Illness

Nearly halfway into the Horizon League schedule, Cleveland State is showing no signs of letting up on his conference foes. By dominating Youngstown State on the road Saturday and beating Detroit at home on Friday, the Vikings have strung together yet another three-game winning streak.

In doing so, Cleveland State sits at 6-1 in the conference, sharing the top spot with preseason favorite Green Bay, who survived a scare at home against Valparaiso. The Phoenix, of course, will come to the Wolstein Center next Saturday for what could very well shape up as a battle for first place.

All of this recent success for the Vikings comes on the heels of a so-so- non-conference slate, in which fans felt understandably pessimistic about the road ahead. Now, even the most skeptical observers are finding reasons to be optimistic.

The Friday win against the Titans is made even more impressive by the fact that Cleveland State found itself down not one, but two starters. Guard and defensive powerhouse Andre Yates suffered a high ankle sprain in the win against YSU and will likely be out for at least two weeks. The Vikings were also without the services of senior forward Marlin Mason, who came down with flu-like symptoms and ended up in the hospital.

The loss of key personnel forced head coach Gary Waters to look deep into his lineup for solutions to match up well with Detroit. He found that in Vinny Zollo, who started in Mason’s place, and his reserve guards, including Terrelle Hales, who returned after spraining his ankle in Saturday’s win. At several points during the win, Waters had four guards on the floor, giving the Titans a considerable size advantage.

It didn’t seem to really matter.

The Vikings, down by nine points at two times in the second half, turned to their signature pressure defense to get them back in the game. And just like they did in their comeback win against Wright State, they kept the Titans from scoring a field goal for seven minutes in the waning moments.

Saturday’s win over Youngstown State was much less in question for nearly the entire contest. Cleveland State had no problem dispatching the Penguins with a dominant showing both in the paint and on the perimeter, shooting 48 percent from the field. The Vikings may have won by 13, but their overpowering of YSU, including the neutralizing of Penguin forward Bobby Hain, made it seem as if they had won by much more.

Before the pivotal match-up against Green Bay, Cleveland State faces a tough test on Monday when they travel to Oakland. For their part, the Golden Grizzlies have been nearly unbeatable on their home court this season, including an early-season upset of the Phoenix. Oakland will also be seeking revenge for losing to the Vikings in Cleveland on January 8th.

While a win on Monday is a huge undertaking for Cleveland State, especially with Yates out of the lineup. However, given the success the Vikings have had so far on the road in conference game, coming home with a victory is not out of the realm of possibilities.

The Trey Lewis Takeover Returns

After a couple of quiet games to start the conference schedule, Lewis has exploded over the past week. Against Detroit, Lewis torched the Titans for 30 points on 9-for-20 shooting, including 5 for 11 from three-point range. He also was very active on the boards, pulling down eight rebounds.

The offensive surge came on top of a 29-point performance in the Youngstown State romp. Once again, Lewis was on fire from beyond the arc, nailing seven threes in 13 attempts.

Monday night’s game against the Golden Grizzlies will provide Lewis with an opportunity to seek some payback. In game in Cleveland, he was held scoreless, having only attempted two shots and constantly hounded by Oakland’s defensive monster, Dante Williams. Lewis will obviously be looking to make sure that performance was a fluke.

The Truth Dominates the Horizon League

Anton Grady continues to turn in performances in conference games that put him in the upper echelon of Horizon League frontcourt players. In seven games so far, Grady has chipped in 14.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. This includes three games in which he has recorded a double-double.

In spite of Detroit’s size advantage, Grady had no problem getting the edge in the paint, notching 15 points and a season-high 14 boards. He also was huge on defense, making four blocks, including a tremendous swat on Paris Bass with 3:42 left in the game.

Best of all, Grady has kept his foul troubles to a minimum, which has allowed him to play more than 30 minutes a game during the conference run. It has all added up to him returning to the form he displayed during his freshman year, in which he was considered one of the best players in the Horizon League.

If things keep going the way they are, The Truth, indeed, will have risen once more.

Ouch!

It’s likely that Mason will return to the lineup on Monday, but this week didn’t go as planned for him. His hospital stay for flu-like symptoms included, according to Waters, a spinal tap to check for meningitis. After Mason was released out of the hospital on Friday, Waters said that the doctors has cleared him to play. However, given that he was still sore from the spinal tap, Mason understandably didn’t give it a go.

Live By the Free Throw, Die By the Free Throw (Part II)

If there was ever a game in which the Vikings’ erratic foul shooting was on display, it was certainly on Saturday against Detroit. In fact, the first half and the second half from the charity stripe were as different as night and day.

The first half, by all accounts, was probably the worst free throw shooting performance by a Cleveland State squad probably ever. The Vikings show 4 for 14 from the line. That’s right. 4 for 14. And it would have been worse (2 for 12), had it not been for Kaza Keane draining a pair at the close of the half.

Daylight came, however, in the second half. In what can only be described as some crazy reverse of polarity in the universe, Cleveland State fared much better, shooting 16 for 19 from the free-throw line. Of course, it probably helped that most of those made shots came from Lewis and Charlie Lee, who is far and away the team’s best foul shooter.

Waters had expressed concern for the lack of practice on free throws during the week, given his team’s varying class schedules. It’s likely going to continue to be a running theme for the remainder of the season, though Cleveland State probably hopes that it won’t cost them.

That’s Right. Cleveland State Is on a Winning Streak.

“OK, we won a game yesterday. If we win today, it’s called two in a row. And if we win again tomorrow, it’s called a ‘winning streak’… It has happened before!”

– Lou Brown, “Major League II”

As Cleveland sports fans, we all love our movie references, no matter how obscure. And in a sense, the above quote from everybody’s favorite fictional Indians manager should have struck a chord in Cleveland State fans everywhere. That’s because going into the Horizon League schedule, a winning streak seemed to be a foreign concept to the Vikings.

In fact, to find a stretch of Cleveland State basketball where the program couldn’t string together three straight wins, you’d have to go back to the tenure of Mike Garland. All of it. Seriously, Garland’s teams never won three in a row, ever, in the entire three seasons he was here.

Going into the conference, it was starting to look as if the same fate was going to befall Gary Waters’ squad as well. Even worse, CSU hadn’t won back-to-back games against Division I schools during the non-conference schedule, let alone three.

Then the Vikings flipped the switch.

As fans have witnessed on many occasions during the Waters era, Cleveland State’s out-of-conference results, which could be viewed as so-so at best, may have actually prepared the team for its Horizon League foes after all. Skepticism among fans naturally set in, even after pasting Milwaukee by 27 points at the Wolstein Center.

But this week saw the Vikings best Illinois-Chicago and Oakland, which now puts them at 3-0 in the conference.

Naturally, either game could have been a trap for Cleveland State. Fans can certainly point to Savannah State and Eastern Illinois as proof of that this season. Plus the Flames with their win against Youngstown State and the Golden Grizzlies’ surprise of Valparaiso provided obvious cause for concern.

And yet, the Vikings used their trademark defense and timely scoring, something that hadn’t happened much this season, to fend off late-game runs by both foes, besting UIC in Sunday’s contest, 74-69, and Oakland at home on Thursday, 65-61.

With a perfect record in the Horizon League, Cleveland State now faces its toughest test against the Crusaders on Saturday night. Valpo overcame the loss of Keith Carter for an undetermined amount of time due to a dislocated toe to dismantle the Flames at home, 85-56. With the Vikings and Crusaders picked second and third in the pre-season poll, respectively, the contest at the ARC, though considerably early in the conference slate, will serve as a test on who is truly the better team to this point.

For Valparaiso’s part, the non-conference schedule, unlike Cleveland State’s, proved to be much more successful, with 13 wins against only two losses to Missouri and New Mexico. The Vikings will need to replicate its fast starts this week and keep the Crusader frontcourt in check, much as they did last year.

Anton Grady’s Back-Up Will Be…

There appears to be a competition as to who will come in to spell Cleveland State’s top frontcourt player, especially in the event he finds himself in foul trouble, a situation that was more common than not early on this year.

It appeared that this role would go to Aaron Scales, who received the bulk of playing time against Virginia Commonwealth and in the Horizon League opener versus Milwaukee. On the road against UIC, though, there was no debate about playing time at all, with Grady notching a season-high 36 minutes that results in his first double-double this year.

Against Oakland, though, Scales didn’t see the floor at all, ceding his minutes as Grady’s back-up to fellow sophomore Demonte Flannigan. For his part, Flannigan took advantage of every second of his 16 minutes, scoring eight points and pulling down four boards.

The debate on who will be Grady’s back-up will likely remain fluid for the remainder of the season. That’s mostly because Scales and Flannigan clearly bring two different styles to the Viking frontcourt, and Waters will call upon one or the other, depending on who they will be facing at the time. For the game against Valpo, with 6-10 Vashil Fernandez in the middle, it’s a pretty good bet that the much-bigger Scales will get the nod over Flannigan.

But then again, if Grady stays out of foul trouble and bests the Crusader big man as he did last year, there may not be any debate at all.

No Trey Lewis? No Problem.

CSU’s victory over Oakland was made even more amazing by the fact that the leading scorer for the Vikings, Trey Lewis, was held scoreless. In fact, Lewis only attempted two shots the entire game. To be fair, the Golden Grizzlies did have the 6-6 Dante Williams, their main stopper, defending him.

But what Lewis lacked in scoring he more than made up for in creating offense in other ways, notching five assists. It also gave Cleveland State the opportunity to figure out who would else would be able to score.

The answer turned out to be Lewis’ partner in the backcourt, Charlie Lee, which scored 13 and dished out seven assists. And it was also Andre Yates, the defensive leader of the team (a well-defended title, of course). He led the team with 14 points in 22 minutes.

The X-Factor – Marlin Mason

In the beginning of the season, Waters believed that the 6-6 senior would be the X-factor for the Vikings having a successful season. His performance, though, has been all over the place, and at some points was non-existent on offense, as was the case against Milwaukee.

Going into the conference schedule, though, Mason seems to have found his place as a shot blocker. He swatted away four shots against UIC and followed that up with three more blocks against Oakland. He also, in the two wins this week, quietly chipped in offensively, scoring 12 against the Flames and 11 versus the Golden Grizzlies.

Moving forward, Mason will need to be the X-factor that Waters is looking for, as opposed a scene from the X Factor television show in which Simon Cowell brusquely says to a contestant, “That’s going to be a no for me.”

Cleveland State Weekly Recap: Driving Fans Crazy

For the few diehard Cleveland State fans, this marks one of those weeks that make absolutely no sense to anyone but them. Of course the Vikings lose to a really, really bad Savannah State team. Of course Cleveland State hangs with Louisville. And of course the Vikings go to Marshall and survive a late run to get their first road win of the season.

And, of course, it’s the ups and downs that make CSU fans absolutely insane.

We should really be used to this by now, with Cleveland State playing up to some of the best teams in college basketball, then play down to some of the worst. But rarely anybody see that play out in the span of five days. Consider that an emotional roller coaster the size of Millennium Force.

The Incredible Disappearing and Reappearing Frontcourt

Easily the biggest source of aggravation this week has been the play for the frontcourt, or at least the play when they’ve been on the floor. For Savannah State and Louisville, that meant not much of the first half at all, thanks to the oldest of old enemies, foul trouble.

And even when fouling wasn’t the problem, starters Anton Grady and Marlin Mason ran into a big problem against the Cardinals, literally. The Louisville frontcourt players spent most of the contest owning the Vikings in the paint, swatting away shots with impunity. This forced Grady to attempt the mid-range jumper. Unfortunately, this was one of these games where the shots just didn’t fall. As for Mason, he was basically non-existent on offense.

Mason turned that around against Marshall, though, by torching the Thundering Herd for 18 points, including four three-pointers. And while Grady found himself on the bench with foul trouble once again, he chipped in 15 of 17 points in the second half in the win over Marshall.

So in spite of not being a factor earlier in the week, for all intents and purposes, the game against Lousville was an anomaly. Moving forward against more equally-sized competition, Mason and Grady should be more of a factor.

Any Other Scorers? Anyone?

It’s no secret that the leader on offense for the Vikings was going to be Trey Lewis. After all, he was named a pre-season Horizon League first-teamer. But for the bulk of this week, he’s basically represented most, if not all, of Cleveland State’s firepower.

Against Louisville, that was more of the case that anyone should ever be comfortable with. In the loss, the Vikings only score 33 points, and Lewis scored 24 of them on 9-of-20 shooting, including four three-pointers. The rest of the team? They shot an absolutely horrendous 4 for 32.

While going up against the No. 6 team in the country is a unique situation, someone in the Cleveland State rotation not named Lewis needs to kick it into gear or the rest of the season is going to be a long haul, especially during games when Lewis doesn’t have his best stuff.

And that’s exactly what happened for a good part of the game against the Thundering Herd. Lewis ran into some early foul trouble and had to sit a good part of the first half. This game, though, Mason was able to take over as the primary scorer. Lewis would eventually come back and finish with 14 points, including a pair of critical three-pointers down the stretch.

With Charlie Lee coming back from his six-game suspension, he may come in and help with the scoring. However, given his history as a streaky shooter, Lee may very well end up getting in line with everyone else.

At Least There’s Defense

When Louisville pasted Savannah state by 63 points on Monday, there was very little hope that the Vikings weren’t going to be able to keep it close. The Cardinals had also been hot shooters, including beyond the three-point arc.

But in spite of the loss, Cleveland State played defense of the season, holding Louisville to 31.9 percent from the field and stole the ball from the Cardinals 10 times. The defensive effort seemed to neutralize Louisville’s massive inside presence, at least until the end.

The Vikings carried that forward into Huntington, holding Marshall to 29 percent in the first half. CSU then used defense, particularly nine steals, to keep the Thundering Herd from making the kind of comeback that Cleveland State couldn’t stop against Savannah State.

Toledo: Your Marquee Match-Up

CSU’s non-conference schedule does not look all that exciting, to say the least. But the one game that every fan should consider to be a must-watch is Wednesday, when the Vikings play host to Toledo.

The game against the Rockets provides an opportunity for Cleveland State to get a little bit of revenge from last season’s loss at Toledo last season.  And with the Rockets considered to be one of the favorites in the Mid-American Conference, it’s certainly one of those games in which a team picked to finished highly in the Horizon League to get some bragging rights.

Of course, it would have helped if Toledo wasn’t coming in with losses against Virginia Commonwealth and against fellow Horizon League school Detroit. The 82-79 loss against the Titans came on Tuesday as part of the Progressive Legends rub-regional hosted on the Rockets’ home court.

So, while the records don’t exactly make the contest against Toledo look like Clash of the Titans, it will still be very important in terms of preparing for the Vikings’ future, which will include two conference games against Detroit, as well as the December 29th road trip to Richmond to play VCU.