CLEVELAND, Ohio – Demonte Flannigan hit a left-handed hook shot off the glass with 1.8 seconds left to lift Cleveland State to a 67-65 win over Belmont on Saturday afternoon in the Wolstein Center.
CSU improved to 4-7 with the win, while Belmont fell to 7-6.
Flannigan led the Vikings with 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
"That was the play coach drew up in the huddle and in my mind, I was going to finish strong and get the bucket," Flannigan said.
"I thought we executed the last play to perfection," head coach Gary Waters said. "It was as good as you can get. Terrell (Hales) threw a great pass to Demonte and he finished strong with his left hand. It was a play that we have worked on for situations like that and we did a great job all-around."
Rob Edwards added 15 points and three rebounds for the Vikings, while Andre Yates finished with 11 points and five rebounds. Tim Hasbargen added 10 points off the bench, while Jibri Blount finished with six points, four rebounds and three steals and Vinny Zollo grabbed eight rebounds, his fourth straight game with at least eight rebounds.
Mack Mercer led the Bruins with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
"I thought the kids played well," Waters said. "We panicked down the stretch a bit and turned the ball over to let them back in the game, but it was a good learning experience for our guys. I felt great about our effort on the defensive end. Belmont is one of the best offensive teams in all of college basketball and I thought our guys shook them up defensively."
The Vikings used a strong shooting performance in the first half, connecting on 52-percent (16-31) to take a 40-31 lead into the locker room.
Leading by just one point (11-10) at the 12:29 mark, the Vikings used a 10-2 run to take a 21-12 lead on an Andre Yates free throw midway through the first half. Yates' free throw followed a steal and breakaway dunk by Jibri Blount that extended CSU's lead to eight (20-12) and forced a Belmont timeout.
The Bruins would claw back and pull within four points (23-19) with just under eight minutes to play, but Flannigan answered with a jumper and Hasbargen knocked down his second three-pointer of the half to push the lead back to nine points (28-19).
The lead reached as many as 11 points (38-27) on a pair of Yates free throws with three minutes left.
The Vikings maintained the lead throughout the second half, pushing it to as many as 13 points (59-46) on a Daniel Levitt three-pointer with 9:10 to play. However, Belmont used a 17-2 run over the next six-plus minutes to take its first lead of the afternoon (63-61) on a Mercer layup with 2:43 to play.
Flannigan answered with a tip-in on the other end to tie the contest and after two free throws from Mercer, Flannigan once again answered with a jumper to tie the contest at 63-63 with 36 seconds to play.
Belmont once again went to Mercer down low, but his shot from the baseline was long with seven seconds left and the Vikings called timeout with 3.8 seconds to play after getting the ball over halfcourt.
That set up Flannigan's heroics.
CSU returns to action on Wednesday (Dec. 23) when the Vikings host Bowling Green at 1:00 pm in the Wolstein Center.