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Cleveland State University Basketball: A Look Back at November
The Cleveland State Vikings opened the 2013-14 season looking to rebound after a 14-18 season, the worst since head coach Gary Waters’ first season on the North Coast.
The Vikings were picked a surprising third in the pre-season Horizon League standings behind Green Bay and Wright State, as they began the campaign that would take them across the country in the opening week of the season as well as a visit to nationally ranked Kentucky.
Here is a look back at an exciting and sometimes frustration first month of the season for the North Coast Norsemen.
Cleveland State finished the month of November with a 4-3 record, opening the season at home coming back from a 15-point halftime deficit to defeat Iona 73-69. After a loss at San Francisco, the Vikes then participated in the Kneighley Classic picking up victories at Texas-Arlington (83-73) and at home against Robert Morris (87-74), avenging a loss to the Colonials a season ago in suburban Pittsburgh.
Their losses came against an improving Eastern Michigan (81-69) and the one most people had been talking about, 86-81 at top-five ranked Kentucky. The Vikings held a 10-point lead with five minutes remaining only to see the Wildcats finish the game with a 24-7 run to snatch victory. The month ended with a convincing 78-55 home win over Ball State.
Inside the Numbers
CSU averaged 73.1 points per game in the first month, scoring over 70 points five times. They shot 43.4 percent from the field going over 50 percent from the floor on two occasions (at USF and against RMU). Their best marksmanship came against BSU at 62.8 percent, the best by a Vikings team since February, 2012 vs. Loyola-Chicago.
Bryn Forbes has picked up where he left off last season after being named the Horizon League Newcomer of the Year, leading the Vikes averaging 19.3 points per game. Charlie Lee started the season playing within himself, averaging 12,8 points per game before injuring his knee before the UK game. Anton Grady is all the way back from that knee injury that cost him the balance of 2012-13. He is averaging 8.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game along with a double-double in the season opener against the Gaels.
However, the biggest contributions so far have come from a pair of transfers who have returned home to play. Trey Lewis was a standout at Garfield Heights High School playing for former Viking, Sonny Johnson. After a year at Penn State, Lewis transferred to CSU after sitting out last season, and has been solid both coming off the bench as well as starting the last two games for Lee averaging 14.4 points. Jon Harris starred at Twinsburg High and played three seasons at Miami. He came to CSU and was granted a waiver by the NCAA to play immediately and has come off the bench to average nine points per game and lead the team with six rebounds per contest.
A Look Ahead
The second month has the Vikings opening on the road against a battle-tested Drexel team. Unfortunately, the Vikings fell to Drexel in a triple-overtime thriller to start the season. CSU returns home for three games against arch-rival Akron, Western Carolina and LaRoche College. They also have road games against Toledo and Kent State, who began their seasons a combined 14-1.
After a recent victory, Waters said this team is night and day without Grady. If that is true, he might amend that statement as the season goes along with the emergence of Lewis and Harris to add to Forbes and Lee. We will see as we go along.
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