The Cleveland State Vikings rode a furious wave of momentum headed into their first two Horizon League games of the season, home contests against Oakland and Detroit Mercy. CSU picked up right where they left off with two decisive wire to wire home victories to improve their overall record to 6-3, but perhaps most importantly, a 2-0 start to league play for the third season in a row.
Thursday saw the Vikings get off to another hot start, this time against Greg Kampe’s Golden Grizzlies. CSU took a 41-29 lead into the halftime locker room and did not look back, as the Grizzlies were fighting uphill the entire evening in a 80-64 Cleveland State win. It was another balanced scoring attack for Cleveland State, as the dynamic duo of Drew Lowder and Jayson Woodrich combined for 30 points off the bench, compared to the entire Oakland bench was only able to contribute 17 points.
Additionally, it was another impressive game from Deshon Parker who seemingly did it all on Thursday night as the senior scored 11 points, grabbed seven rebounds, dished out six assists, and generated two steals all while not committing a single turnover in 23 minutes of action. Parker’s leadership and production for the Vikings has been instrumental in their turnaround, as he is averaging a career high just under six assists per contest, all while committing less than 1.5 turnovers on a nightly basis. Parker is not just the quarterback of the Cleveland State attack, but he is a vocal leader who carries an infectious presence which has benefitted CSU greatly the last year, and into this season as well.
On Saturday, the Vikings battled conference rival Detroit Mercy, led by the Horizon League’s all time leading scorer, Antoine Davis. Davis surprised many this offseason when he recommitted to UDM after entering the transfer portal ahead of his final collegiate season. Davis will hope for better days ahead as the Vikings won comfortably 92-77 after getting off to yet another sizzling start, taking a 20-4 lead eight minutes into the contest. The Vikings defense held the Titans to under 40% shooting from the field on the game, as 23 points from Antoine Davis were not enough overcome another balanced scoring night from Cleveland State.
Junior Tae Williams enjoyed a breakout performance against the Titans as the high flying junior college transfer recorded a double double as he scored a team high 23 points and grabbed ten rebounds. Following Williams’ performance, CSU head coach Daniyal Robinson praised his junior and gave some insight into his development when he stated, “Tae is a phenomenal athlete, great teammate, and he’s a junior college transfer, often times with junior college transfers it takes a handful of games for them the physicality, the speed of the game, the attention to detail in the scouting report, and those type of things. He’s done a really good job of accepting the coaching, getting in the gym extra, and it’s awesome to see him have some success out there.”
Williams is just another piece in what has evolved into a very potent and balanced offensive attack for Coach Robinson and his Vikings. As the statistics currently sit, CSU has seven players averaging at least 7 points per game, which only further illustrates that the Vikings can receive scoring from a multitude of places.
Up next for Cleveland State, four final non conference games before jumping back into league play for the remainder of the season. A road clash with St. Bonaventure awaits on Wednesday at 7pm, followed by a home clash with Mid American Conference foe Kent State on Saturday afternoon at 3pm. Both games can be streamed on ESPN+.