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Tom Mieskoski


CLEVELAND - Butler continued its dominance of Cleveland State on the hardwood. As CSU laid another egg against their hated rivals in front a national television audience on ESPN2.

Despite a sold out crowd of 8,490 at the Wolstein Center on Saturday afternoon, CSU could not hold serve at home as the Bulldogs swept the regular season series against the Vikings, 73-61.

The Bulldogs (15-9, 7-5 Horizon League) have won eight of its past nine meetings with the Vikings (21-4, 10-3). They are 29-7 all-time against CSU. The last time CSU defeated Butler was in March of 2009 during the Horizon League championship game.

With the loss, CSU still remains in first-place, but only a half-game ahead of second-place Valparaiso (9-3 Horizon League), who defeated Youngstown State on Saturday.

"They came in and out played us," said CSU coach Gary Waters. "We had 18 buckets, and if you only score 18 buckets, you're not going to win many games."

Waters took some of the blame for the loss. "I went away from something that I should have never did," he said. "What we do is press and pressure people the whole time. That's what we are going to do. That's who we are.

"We didn't trap for turnovers. That will never happen again. If they can beat us they are going to have to beat us our way."

Waters said one of the reasons why he didn't use the press early in the game was because starters Trevon Harmon and Aaron Pogue were both in foul trouble for most of the game.

Turnovers played a key role in the game. Without CSU playing its aggressive style of play, the Vikings, which are second in the Horizon League in turnover margin, were only able to create six. While Butler created 12, which led to a 15-6 advantage in points off turnovers for the Bulldogs.

"Turnovers are key to winning on the road," said Butler coach Brad Stevens.


Tom Mieskoski

Jeremy_Montgomery3A half-time adjustment made by Cleveland State men's basketball coach Gary Waters helped the Vikings get off to a fast start in the second-half and take control of the game.

CSU would withstand several late rallies by Valpo and held on to a 76-65 victory on Thursday night at the Wolstein Center in front of a crowd of 4, 472, the third largest this season.

The Vikings would hold on to defeat the Crusaders, 76-65, Thursday night at the Wolstein Center in front of a crowd of 4, 472, the third largest this season.

The win gives first-place CSU (21-3, 10-2 Horizon League) some breathing room as second-place Valpo (16-7, 8-3 Horizon League) drops 1 1⁄2-games behind the Vikings.

CSU received a combined 51 points from Jeremy Montgomery and Norris Cole.

Valpo was led by Howard Little's 17 and Ryan Broekhoff's 15.

The first half started off just like the previous game at Valpo. CSU jumped out to a quick lead, led by as many as 11, and Valpo finished the half strong using a 12-2 run to cut the lead down to 31-30 at the half.

That's when Waters made his adjustment.


Tom Mieskoski

Trey_and_DAundrayThe Cleveland State men's basketball team battles Valparaiso at the Wolstein Center tonight with first-place in the Horizon League on the line.

CSU (20-3, 9-2 Horizon League) are in first-place in the Horizon League holding a slight half-game lead on second-place Valpo (16-6, 8-2). The Vikings have won five straight and the Crusaders have won six of their last seven games.

"The best team we will play (this weekend) will be here on Thursday," said CSU coach Gary Waters. "This could be for the championship."

It's also a matchup of two of college basketball's best coaches with two completely different philosophies.

Homer Drew is an offensive whiz with a record of 364-299 in 22 seasons at Valpo (633-421 overall, 33 seasons). His Crusaders lead the Horizon League in offensive field goal percentage (48 percent), which is 22nd in the nation.

While Waters is a defensive genius with a record of 93-65 in five seasons at CSU (264-200 overall, 15 seasons). Waters teams take pride in shutting down their opponents. His Vikings lead the Horizon League in defensive field goal percentage (39.8 percent), which is 34th in the nation.

"Valpo has a good coach (Homer Drew) that understands the offensive game," said Waters. "It's going to come down to their offense versus our defense. If we don't stop their offense chalk it in the books.


Tom Mieskoski


The Cleveland State men's basketball team will start a three games in six days stretch this week that will determine their seeding for next month's Horizon League tournament.

"We got three tough games," said CSU coach Gary Waters. "This is a big weekend for us."

CSU stands at 20-3 overall and 9-2 in the Horizon League. The Vikings are in first-place in the Horizon League, a half-game ahead of Valparaiso.

On Thursday, CSU will host Valpo (16-6, 8-2 Horizon League) at 7 p.m. with first-place on the line. The Crusaders have won six of its past seven games and two of its last three meetings against CSU.

"The best team we will play (this weekend) will be here on Thursday," said Waters. "This could be for the championship."

On Saturday, CSU will face their arch-rival Butler (14-8, 6-4) at noon in a nationally televised game on ESPN2. The Vikings have lost seven of its past eight games to Butler.

On Monday, CSU will travel to Detroit (11-12, 5-6) at 7 p.m. The Vikings have only won twice in 23 games at Calihan Hall.

CSU's only two losses in league play this season have come against Butler and Valpo during consecutive road games in January.

The good news for CSU is they are undefeated at home this season (12-0) and have won 14 straight at the Wolstein Center dating back to last year.


Tom Mieskoski

Norris_Cole_TCFCleveland State's Norris Cole is quickly becoming the front-runner to win the Horizon League's Player of the Year Award.

Cole's numbers speak for themselves. He leads the Horizon League in scoring (20.2), assists (5.0) and steals (2.4), and is eighth in rebounding (5.5).

One thing that should help his case is that CSU is sitting all alone on top of the Horizon League standings after the Vikings defeated Illinois-Chicago, 63-49, on Thursday at the UIC Pavilion.

CSU (19-3, 8-2 Horizon League) are a half-game ahead of Valparaiso (15-6, 7-2), a game ahead of Wright State (14-8, 7-3), and are 1 1/2 games ahead of Butler (14-7, 6-3).

Seven of the past eight Player of the Year winners have come from the team with the best record. The only exception was Butler's Brandon Polk during the 2005-06 season.

The senior from Dayton had another Player of the Year type of a game against UIC, finishing with a game-high 22 points.

It was his 11th game this season that he has scored 20 points or more, which leads the league. The next closet players with the most 20 point performances this season are Green Bay's Rahmon Fletcher, Butler's Matt Howard and UIC's Robo Kreps, with six each.

With UIC holding a slight 14-12 lead, Cole picked up his second foul with 9:57 remaining in the half and sat on the bench. The Flames then went on a 7-0 run to take a 21-12 lead.

CSU coach Gary Waters was forced to put his star back into the game and Cole responded by scoring six straight points to get CSU within 23-21 with 3:50 to go.

In the second half, it was Cole's steal and lay-up that gave CSU the lead at 41-39 with 14:08 remaining. It was their first lead since 3-2. The Vikings would not relinquish the lead. Cole would score nine points the rest of the game to help CSU preserve the victory.


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