CLEVELAND, Ohio – Sophomore Tyree Appleby led the way as the Cleveland State University men's basketball team made a school record 15 three-pointers as the Vikings got back in the win column with an 82-64 victory over Bowling Green Wednesday night in the Wolstein Center.
The Vikings had made 14 three-pointers in a game on eight prior occasions in school history but bettered that figure by one Wednesday, thanks in large part to Appleby.
Appleby flirted with a triple double as he tallied a career-high 37 points, a career-high eight rebounds and eight assists. His efficiency was equally as impressive as his final totals as he shot 13-of-19 from the floor and 7-of-9 from distance.
"Tyree really really played well tonight," head coach Dennis Felton said. "He played at a high level. He shot it so well, making 7-of-9 from three. When he's shooting it that well, he's really difficult to handle."
Bowling Green came in holding opponents to under 40% shooting on the season, but Cleveland State easily surpassed those figures. CSU shot 50% from the floor (28-of-56) and from distance (15-of-30) for the game.
On the other side of the equation, the Vikings held the Falcons to just 32.9% shooting (23-of-70) and a mere 21.7% from downtown (5-of-23).
While the game ended comfortably for CSU, it did not start out that way. BG scored the game's first five points and then used a 9-0 run to take a double digit lead (16-6) fewer than seven minutes into the contest. The Falcons led 18-7 with 10:30 to play in the first half, but the switch soon flipped.
Cleveland State went on a 26-4 run over a 7:08 span late in the first half to turn an 11-point deficit into an 11-point lead (33-22). Eight different Vikings scored in the run as sophomore Stefan Kenic had six while junior Jaalam Hill and freshman Seth Millner both had five points in the run. The Vikings maintained the 11-point margin into halftime, taking a 37-26 lead into the break.
Bowling Green tried to make a game of it, cutting what was a 12-point lead early in the second half down to just 47-44 with still over 13 minutes to play.
Appleby then took over. He grabbed an offensive rebounded to start an old-fashioned, three-point play, then hit freshman Rashad Williams for a three before hitting a triple of his own to push the lead to 56-44.
Cleveland State led by double digits for the final 11 minutes of the game, pushing its lead to as many as 20 points.
"The fact that we held it together and weathered that early storm was the biggest positive of the night," Felton said. "We weren't real confident in those early moments and fell behind by 11, and the fact that we responded and started shutting them down to turn the game around was a good sign."
Appleby's field goals made and three-pointers made also were new career bests. He netted the most points by a Viking since Norris Cole had 41 vs. Youngstown State in February 2011.
Cleveland State held back-to-back opponents, both from the Mid-American Conference, to under 40% shooting and has held four consecutive foes below 30% from international waters.
Kenic finished with 15 points and four rebounds, his seventh game in the past eight reaching double figures.
Hill notched eight points, a season-best 11 rebounds, three assists, no turnovers and two blocks off the bench. Senior Dontel Highsmith added seven points and three boards from the bench and provided important energy in the first half to help CSU get back on track. CSU's bench outscored that of its opponent for the seventh time in 10 games.
Cleveland State remains at home this Sunday, Dec. 9, as it hosts Notre Dame (Ohio) at 1:00 p.m.