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Feb. 23, 2015

Solid play carries Vikings into March

By Jordan Smith

The Vikings line up after a game at the wolstein center. Both the men's

and women's teams are undefeated there in the month of February.

The Cleveland State University basketball team has maintained its position as one of the top three teams in the Horizon League.

The team held a three-way tie with Valparaiso and Green Bay-Milwaukee for control of the conference for the majority of the month of February.

Cleveland State defeated Youngstown State University at the Wolstein Center 73-60 on Feb. 4. The night was historic for two starters, as both Charlie Lee and Anton Grady achieved career milestones.

Grady became the first Cleveland State player to get 1,000 points, 100 steals, 100 blocks and 600 rebounds. While he became the 22nd leading scorer in Cleveland State history, Lee became the 21st leading scorer in school history. He was the first to do so on a three-pointer that came in the first half.
After the game, Lee was nonchalant about breaking the record and was more geared toward focusing on the last few regular season conference games. Grady also seemed unphased by the record, saying that he knew that he was on the brink of breaking the 1,000 point mark because he follows Greg Murphy, the assistant athletic director, on Twitter.

The focused mindset carried over into the Vikings next victory over the Rockets of Wright State University that was led by Lee’s season-high 23 points.

In the next matchup against the University of Detroit, a second half rally led by Trey Lewis came up short. The Vikings lost by a score of 66-65, which dropped them to second place in the Horizon League.

The team returned home where they would defeat the Flames of the University of Illinois-Chicago by a final score of 67-59. The team was again led in scoring by Lewis, who posted 18 in what was a gritty victory for the Vikings. Head coach Gary Waters said the two things they have to do as they approach the end of the regular season are avoid foul trouble and increase bench productivity.

“The bench has got to give these guys some help,” he said. “We’ve got a game Tuesday, we’ve got a game Friday, and we’ve got a game Sunday. That’s three games in six days. [The starters] need rest.”
After the canceled contest against Western Carolina University, the Vikings defeated the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay before losing to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee before the regular season finale against Valparaiso on Feb. 27.

The Viking women have split their last six games which brings them to an overall record of 14-9. They’re in third place in the Horizon League, and have been led in scoring primarily by senior forward Imani Gordon. Two of their last six matchups have ended in overtime thrillers, including an 80-74 victory over Oakland University on Feb. 14.

Gordon sank a three-pointer at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime. The trio of Cori Coleman, Kiersten Green and Gordon combined for 62 of Cleveland State’s 80 points. Coleman led in scoring with a total of 23 points and 10 rebounds. Gordon was next, contributing 21 points and 10 rebounds.

Coach Kate Peterson-Abiad said she had high aspirations for the upcoming season. Despite season-ending injuries to four of their top eight players, morale has remained high after reiterating that roles would increase for everyone on the active roster.

Peterson-Abiad said that the seniors on the team would be relied upon for their experience, and they would have to play the role of teacher to those on the team with less game experience.

“I would say that in the midst of all of these injuries, that’s what I’m most pleased with,” Peterson-Abiad said. “What you’re seeing is the growth that’s coming out of those injuries, and the type of kids that we have, their character is really showing, and that’s what I’m most pleased with, their character.”

The women’s team defeated the Wright State Raiders on Feb. 18 by a 67-63 score. The team hit the road again on Feb. 21 where they lost to the Titans of the University of Detroit by a final score of 78-65. The team’s next matchup comes on Feb. 25 in Indiana for a showdown against last place Valparaiso University.

Currently, the Women’s Vikings are in fourth place in the Horizon League standings.