Vikings earn split versus red hot Titans

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The Cleveland State Vikings remain atop the controversial Horizon League standings despite splitting over the weekend against Detroit.

This past weekend’s series between Cleveland State and Detroit featured two of the hottest teams in the Horizon League. The Vikings came into play riding a four game winning streak, while the Titans rattled off five in a row before their trip to Northeast Ohio. The Titans have looked like a completely different team following their mental health/COVID pause, as the Vikings certainly had their hands full with Antoine Davis and the Titans.

Game one of the doubleheader saw the Titans take a commanding lead early in the game. Detroit took a 46-30 lead into the halftime locker room. Horizon League player of the year candidate Antoine Davis led all scorers with 35 points on the night.

Torrey Patton led the Vikings back in the second half, as the senior scored a season high 33 points of his own. A Tre Gomillion dunk tied the game 63 with just over six minutes left in regulation. Unfortunately for the Vikings, Detroit freshman Noah Waterman iced the game down the stretch with three crucial three pointers. The Titans prevailed in game one in a shootout 89-83.

Game two started a lot like game one for the Vikings, as Detroit got off to a 14-1 lead, which forced an early Cleveland State timeout. Dennis Gates was quick to pull two of his starting guards, Craig Beaudion and D’Moi Hodge from the lineup in favor of Yahel Hill and freshman Alec Oglesby. Oglesby played a career high 33 minutes and scored 15 points, which was good enough to tie with Torrey Patton for the team high.

Following the conclusion of CSU’s 71-64 win, Dennis Gates stated, “My player of the game is Alec Oglesby. Being able to come in off the bench…and he was a +20 on the score so at that point, I had to make sure he was gonna stay in the game no matter what…being able to keep Alec Oglesby on the court is the reason we won this game.”

Oglesby, a three-star recruit from The Rock School in Florida was a huge land for Gates’ program. His continued maturation has provided the Vikings with yet another capable scorer and defender coming off of a deep bench.

With the regular season winding down with this weekend’s set of games, Horizon League fans are beginning to look towards the conference tournament and the rankings, something that has been the subject of much debate.

While the league has not made the rankings formula public, the Vikings remain in the number one spot, with Wright State, Oakland, and Northern Kentucky to follow. The top four teams in the standings will receive a first round bye, and play a home game in the second round. The tournament will also reseed after each round, meaning the top remaining team will face the lowest team.

What does this information mean for Cleveland State? The Vikings will certainly earn one of the top two seeds in the field, meaning they will not only get a first round bye, but will host a quarterfinals matchup on March 2. If CSU is able to win on the 2nd, they will advance to Indianapolis for the semi finals.

While Cleveland State’s final series of the regular season is not considered a must win, the Vikings will have the opportunity to fine tune their game on both ends of the floor against a team they have already defeated twice this season; Purdue Fort Wayne. Tipoff of game one is scheduled for February 19 at 7:00pm.

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