ROCHESTER, Mich. – Kenny Carpenter was one of three Cleveland State players in double figures with 17 points, but Oakland used a strong second half shooting performance to claim an 81-68 win over the Vikings on Friday night in the O'rena.
Tyree Appleby finished with 14 points, three steals and a career-high tying seven assists, while Stefan Kenic tallied 10 points, six rebounds and three assists. Bobby Word scored eight points and Dontel Highsmith grabbed eight rebounds.
CSU fell to 4-14 overall and 1-4 in the Horizon League, while Oakland moved to 11-8 overall (3-3 HL).
The Vikings led for more than 18 minutes of the first half, taking a quick 8-2 lead four minutes in. The Golden Grizzlies responded with a 10-4 spurt to tie the game at 12-12, but an Appleby steal and dunk capped a 7-2 run for the Vikings which gave CSU a 19-14 advantage with 9:31 to play.
The CSU lead once again reached six points (30-24) with 3:47 left on a Kasheem Thomas and the Vikings led by three points, 32-29, at halftime.
CSU led 36-31 early in the second half after a pair of Appleby free throws, but Oakland used a 12-3 run to take a 43-39 lead at the 15:43 mark and force a Viking timeout. The Golden Grizzlies lead would reach as many as 10 points (49-39) at the 13:39 mark before a pair of free throws from Kenic and a layup from Hairston stopped the run.
Oakland came right back with a 9-2 run to open up a 58-45 advantage midway through the second half.
A three-pointer from Word sliced the CSU deficit to eight points (66-58) with just over five minutes to play, but Jalen Hayes answered with a three-point play on the other end for Oakland.
Hayes finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Golden Grizzlies.
CSU out-rebounded the Golden Grizzlies, 36-35 and made nine steals. The Vikings hit 16-of-20 (.800) at the free throw line, while both teams committed 11 turnovers.
CSU concludes its three game road swing with a 7:30 pm game at Northern Kentucky on Monday (Jan. 15). It will be a doubleheader with the CSU women taking on the NKU women at 5:00 pm.