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Tom Mieskoski

Gary_WatersThe Cleveland State men's basketball team ran into a buzzsaw last week in Indiana - losing both road games at Butler (79-56) and Valparaiso (64-58).

"When you have had two defeats like we had, you want to be back at it so you can regroup yourselves," said CSU men's basketball coach Gary Waters. "But for us, I think it's good [to have the weekend game] because in the Valpo game, I thought Norris (Cole) was tired. And he even told me that I don't have any legs."

In CSU's two losses last week, the Vikings turned the ball over an uncharacteristic 34 times (18 Butler, 15 Valpo), were outscored 38-2 (19-0 Butler, 19-2 Valpo) in bench points and committed 42 fouls (21 in each game).

"These were two tough games," Waters said. "The first game was just a tough, tough game for our team. We did not know the level of intensity that they were going to bring to that game. They came in with a large sense of urgency and you had to match that. We were not prepared to match that sense of urgency.

"In the Valpo game we missed a lot of lay-ups and we had a bad shot selection."

Entering tonight's game at Youngstown State, CSU (15-3, 4-2 Horizon League) are tied for third with Detroit and Wright State, a game behind first-place teams Butler and Valpo, who are both 5-1 in the Horizon League.

The Vikes will try to right the ship against a YSU team that has been a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type of team this season with two different split personalities.

The Penguins (7-9, 1-5) nearly pulled-off a major upset at Butler this past Sunday - They had an eight point lead with 12 minutes to go, but the Bulldogs went on a 16-2 run to take the lead.

Then there is the YSU team that has lost by 30 at Robert Morris, by 13 at Kent State, and by 30 at home against Loyola-Chicago - all teams CSU have beaten.

So which team will CSU face on Saturday?

"They will be up for this game," said Waters. "It reminds me of the game two years ago when we lost there with our team that went to the NCAAs. If (YSU) could win this game it's the biggest game of their lives.


Tom Mieskoski


The common theme at Gary Waters weekly media gathering on Tuesday was that both coach Waters and his players are tired of going to Butler for the Horizon League Tournament every year.

"I have been here four years and every year we have been to Butler (for the Horizon League Tournament)," said Waters. "We got to stop that Butler Invitational."

"I hate losing to Butler," said junior guard Trevon Harmon. "We are trying to host the tournament here - that is one of our team goals. We are differently going down there to make a statement. Even though we are having success and getting all these wins some people still don't respect us."

"They're not the only mid-level elite team now (in the Horizon League) - that's the one statement I want to go down there and make," said junior guard Jeremy Montgomery.

CSU (15-1, 4-0 Horizon League) have a golden opportunity to get a leg up on their archrival Butler (10-5, 2-1) if they can steal a victory at Hinkle Fieldhouse tonight.

Waters says don't expect to see the same Butler team that was blown out at UW-Milwaukee, 76-52, on Monday night.

"This team will be totally different (on Friday)," he said. "They will be committed to doing what they need to do to beat us."

Winning on Butler's home court won't be easy. CSU is 2-16 all-time at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse. CSU's only wins at Hinkle came during the 2008-09 season when CSU won the Horizon League Championship game, and during the 2004-05 season when Mike Garland was the head coach.

The Bulldogs are 5-1 at home this season and 30-2 at Hinkle over the past two seasons. They have also won 12 straight at home against Horizon League foes.

Vikes on ESPNU: ESPNU will televise tonight's CSU-Butler showdown starting at 7 p.m. Jim Barbar and Dave Kaplan will provide the commentary.

Waters keys to victory: Here are Waters three keys to beating the Bulldogs: First, take away either Shelvin Mack or Matt Howard. "They have two main guys (Shelvin Mack and Matt Howard). If you take one of those guys away it really helps (your chances of winning)," he said.

Second, CSU needs to stop Butler from getting into transition and scoring easy buckets and CSU has to make it a half-court game.


Tom Mieskoski


The Cleveland State men's basketball team celebrated the new year by continuing its winning ways as the Vikes defeated Illinois-Chicago, 83-59, Saturday afternoon at the Wolstein Center.

With the win CSU improves to 15-1, 4-0 in the Horizon League heading into next Friday's pivotal league game against arch-rival Butler.

"This could have been a trap game," said CSU men's basketball coach Gary Waters. "Last night was a tough night. It was a go out and enjoy yourself night. We didn't allow them to have that, so they understood that this game was very important for you to come out and play your best."

The Vikes ended any possible chance of a let down by jumping out to an early 6-0 lead. CSU never trailed in the game and led by as many as 13 in the first half as the Vikes built a comfortable 40-28 lead at the half.

Junior guard Trevon Harmon scored 13 of his career-high 24 points in the first half and Norris Cole scored 11 of his 21 in the first 20 minutes.

"We wanted to start off well and get things rolling," said Cole who also added six assists, six rebounds and six steals. " When teams have to fight from behind, it's hard. We have the confidence that if we can get them down, we can keep them there."

CSU's ferocious pressure defense took UIC out of the game early, causing the Flames to turn the ball over 24 times, which CSU scored 21 points out of.

The Vikings' defense caused 15 steals and held the Flames to 40.5 percent from the field.

"They played with a tempo and a velocity that I don't think anyone in our league can emulate or can match," said UIC coach Howard Moore. "Coach Waters has the personnel and the players to really turn up the heat and get after people.

How can you simulate that (pressure defense) in practice? They are the so-called Mid-Major version of Purdue. The way they pressure and get up into you. And they do it the whole game and they don't let up."

CSU used a 9-1 run to start the second half to built a 49-29 lead on Jeremy Montgomery's 3-pointer with 18:06 left in the game. The Vikes wouldn't trail by less then 17 the rest of the game.

Harmon finished 7-of-10 from the field, including 4-of-7 from 3-point distance.

"When Trey's shooting the ball it's hard for teams to beat us," said Waters.

UIC (5-10, 0-3 Horizon League) were led in scoring by senior guard Robo Kreps with 21 points. Kreps had to work hard for those points, going 10-of-12 from the free throw line, as Harmon was in-his-face the entire game.

"It's my job to try to make his day a living hell," said Harmon.

Next Friday's game at Butler will be televised on ESPNU at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs (10-4, 2-0) have won six straight after defeating Valparaiso at home, 76-59, on Saturday.

"It's going to be a big game," said Waters. "The Butler Invitational (aka The Horizon League Tournament) we got to stop that."

Tom Mieskoski

Aaron_Pogue_WVUSince Aaron Pogue enrolled at Cleveland State in the fall of the 2008-09 season, CSU men's basketball coach Gary Waters has referred to him as his Top 50 recruit.

So far Pogue hasn't lived up to those high expectations, but he's starting to come along as a force to be reckoned with in the Horizon League.

"(Before the Loyola-Chicago game) I told him we are going into the league and now it's time for them to know who you are and make your presence (felt) out there," said Waters. "And he did."

The Dayton Dunbar High product made his presence felt scoring a career-high 16 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in Thursday's win over the Ramblers. It was his second career double-double. He was 8-of-11 from the field.

"I work hard everyday in practice to try to reach my full potential. I don't think I have reached it yet, but I'll get there one day." Pogue said after Thursday's game. "I feel there are not many players that can guard me one-on-one. I feel I can destroy any man one-on-one."

The 6-9, 265-pound junior is averaging 8.1 points and a team-leading 6.7 rebounds (5th in the Horizon League) this season. He's shooting 50 percent (47-94) from the field.

Those numbers are up from a year ago when Pogue averaged 6.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 22.2 minutes per game.

"Aaron is in the best shape he's been (at CSU). When you get in shape you move a step quicker and anticipate better," said Waters. "Aaron is now realizing how strong he is. He can bench press 400 pounds not many people in (college) basketball can do that. He's starting to realize that I have strength here and when I hit somebody they fly out of the way."


Tom Mieskoski


CLEVELAND - The Cleveland State men's basketball team ended the 2010 year with a win easily defeating Loyola-Chicago, 73-55, Thursday night at the Wolstein Center.

With the win CSU improves to 14-1, 3-0 in the Horizon League. The Vikes join Syracuse as the only other 14-game winner in the country.

"I thought our guys played extremely hard on the defensive end today and I thought they really shared the basketball," said CSU head coach Gary Waters. "Those are the kind of things you have to do to have a good team."

Loyola (9-5, 0-3 HL) took an early 5-0 lead, but after that is was all CSU. The Vikes would score on 13 of their next 14 possessions to take a 13-6 lead with 11:48 left in the first half. CSU would lead by as many as 18 in the first half and had a comfortable 41-24 lead at the half.

It was on cruise control after that as the Vikes never trailed by less than 14 in the second half.

CSU's stingy pressure defense played a key roll in the victory. The Vikings caused the Ramblers to turn the ball over 18 times, which CSU had a 28-12 advantage in points of turnovers.


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