CLEVELAND, Ohio – Demonte Flannigan notched his first career double-double with career-highs in points (22) and rebounds (17) and Cleveland State used a strong second half to defeat Malone, 62-46, on Tuesday night in the home opener.
CSU improved to 1-1 this year.
Flannigan, who had previous career-highs of 11 points and eight rebounds, hit 9-of-12 from the floor and added two blocked shots. His 17 rebounds were the most by a CSU player since Norris Cole grabbed 20 in a win over Youngstown State in 2011.
CSU trailed at the half, 23-22, but outscored Malone, 40-23, over the final 20 minutes.
"I thought our kids played hard, especially in the second half," head coach Gary Waters said. "It was the second straight game we didn't have a strong start and we have to get better at scoring the basketball, but that will get better as time goes on.
"We were able to play a lot of guys and that's what we want to do. We didn't press as hard as I'd like, but it's something we will get better at as the year goes on. I thought we did a good job of turning the pressure up and increasing our energy level in the second half."
The Vikings jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead and extended the lead to 11-4 with 11:47 left in the half on an Yates dunk. However, the Pioneers scored seven straight points to knot the contest at 11-11 before a Kenny Carpenter jumper stopped the Malone run and put the Vikings ahead, 13-11 with just over eight minutes to play.
The Pioneers answered with a 12-5 run over the next seven minutes to take their largest lead of the half (23-18) before Flannigan hit back-to-back buckets to bring CSU within one at the half, 23-22.
Flannigan notched a double-double in the first half with 14 points and 10 rebounds, both career-highs.
A 13-6 run to open the second half gave the Vikings a 35-29 lead at the 13:31 mark on a Zollo three-pointer. The lead would swell to 13 points (43-30) midway through the second half on a Flannigan basket and back-to-back three-pointers from Hales and Rogers.
Four straight points by Malone brought the Pioneers back within nine, but back-to-back baskets from Flannigan extended the lead back to 13 points and Malone would not threaten the rest of the night.
The Vikings held a 43-35 edge on the glass and scored 40 points in the paint.
The Vikings are back in action on Saturday (Nov. 21) when CSU travels to Rhode Island for a 7:30 pm contest.