MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Despite a 33-point performance from Tyree Appleby, the Cleveland State men's basketball team dropped its first Horizon League road contest of the season Thursday evening, falling in an 83-76 decision at Milwaukee.
With the loss, the Vikings slip to 5-11 on the year, and 0-3 in #HLMBB play.
Appleby recorded 28 second half points on the game, and eclipsed the 30-point mark for the second time this season. Appleby also tied his career-high from behind-the-arc, as he converted seven three-pointers on the game.
Williams posted nine of his 11 points on a trio of three-pointers against the Panthers, marking his sixth straight game with three or more three-pointers.
"Tyree was really big on the offensive end of the floor for us tonight. Clearly he is a good player and we try to put the ball in his hands as much as we can to give him the opportunity to score," head coach Dennis Felton said. "Rashad is also stepping into his game, and becoming more reliable on the defensive end of the floor, which means we can keep him in the game for longer periods of time. We always know that Rashad can score the ball, but his attention to detail and focus on the scouting report has led him to being solid on the defensive end, which allows him to stay on the floor for us."
From the field, the Vikings recorded a .441 clip (26-for-59) on the night.
After going into the halftime break with a double-digit lead at 38-28, Cleveland State was able to extend its lead to 14 points over the first few minutes of the second frame, as the Vikings went on a 9-5 run to gain a 47-33 advantage. All nine of Cleveland State's points during this run came on a trio of Appleby three-pointers.
The Vikings were then able to hold the advantage over the next seven minutes, until Milwaukee tied the frame at 55-55 following a 12-2 Panther run. The Panthers then gained the lead after forcing a Cleveland State turnover on the next trip down the floor, taking control of the contest for the final 8:30.
Throughout the contest, the Vikings were plagued by turnovers, committing 20 turnovers on the night that Milwaukee turned into 31 points.
"Milwaukee really turned up its defensive aggressiveness in a big way during the second half, and we started turning the ball over, which is where this game was won and lost tonight. Our young guys just couldn't quite get their composure back in time during the second half to regain control of the game, but overall they competed very well and I'm proud of that. We just had too many mistakes on the offensive end of the ball working against us which gave Milwaukee the momentum to take over late in the game," Felton said.
From here, the Panthers would go on to carry the momentum throughout the rest of the game, and closed out the 83-76 win after going 7-for-10 from the free throw line over the final 39 seconds of play.
"The team that we want to be is right around the corner, but we just don't know where exactly that corner is. We just need to keep battling every day to get to that point, and what it's going to take is incremental progress like we are making, and continued development on the defensive side of the ball. This is asking for a lot from a young team, but we will continue to push towards that corner and work on sustaining our effort on the court and maintaining our composure so that we are able to close out games down the stretch," Felton said.
Cleveland State will continue its roadswing at Green Bay on Saturday, January 5, taking on the Phoenix at 1:00 p.m. EST.