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February 13, 2014

Men’s basketball crushes Crusaders

By Brendan Samsa

The Cleveland State Men’s Basketball team concluded the first round of Horizon League play last Saturday when they hosted Valparaiso at the Wolstein Center. After a slow start in the first five minutes, the Viking men dominated the Crusaders 69-50.

Trey Lewis led the team with 17 points while coming up with some clutch shots in the second half. Once again taking on the workhorse responsibilities was Anton Grady with a stellar 13 points, 11 rebounds and one steal.

The Viking men had it rolling on both sides of the ball as they played stifling defense and smash mouth offense against a Valparaiso team who was coming off a three -game win streak.

On the season Cleveland State has put together a 14-9 record. Having won eight of their last 11 contests the Viking men have turned it up a notch. What is most impressive about their recent success is that they have done it all while battling injuries across the board. Head coach Gary Waters knows that no matter who he puts on the court, he’s going to get 110 percent from each and every one of his guys.

“We may be down a couple, but our kids are still gonna fight,” said coach Waters at the team luncheon before the Oakland game. “When we have guys out we expect guys to step up in their place.” Coach Waters, in his eighth season as the Vikings head coach, is now the all time winningest basketball coach in Cleveland State’s history. With an 82-68 victory Tuesday on the road against Eastern Illinois, Waters stamped his ticket into Cleveland State’s record books.

In his eight seasons here at Cleveland State he has turned around a program that hadn’t been competitive since the 1980s.

Waters has proven to be everything he had been advertised as when he was brought to Cleveland State. Players want to play for him and opposing coaches and players highly respect him.

Oakland University head coach Greg Kampe, who is the third-longest active coach in the NCAA right now, expressed his admiration for Waters at the luncheon last week before the game.

“You guys are very, very fortunate to have in him,” said Kampe. “In the profession he is known as an unbelievable coach, and he is an even better person."

After concluding non league play Tuesday with the win against Eastern Illinois, Cleveland State will have eight league games left before the Horizon League tournament begins on March 4. First up, Detroit Jan. 31 in the Motor City at 7 p.m.