CLEVELAND -- Cleveland State will face league-leading Wright State on Thursday (Feb. 21) in a Horizon League contest scheduled for a 7 p.m. tipoff in the Nutter Center.
This marks one of the Vikings more challenging weeks of the season as they face the two teams that are tied for first place in the Horizon League standings in Wright State and Northern Kentucky. Cleveland State remains alive in the hunt for the final spot in the Horizon League Tournament, but will need to win its remaining three games on the season and then get help in the form of losses from IUPUI and Milwaukee.
Cleveland State, which is 8-20 overall and 3-12 in conference play, enters Thursday's game off the heels of its top offensive performance of the season. The Vikings concluded the home portion of their schedule with an 89-86 victory over IUPUI in the Wolstein Center behind a season-best shooting performance from the field and the three-point line. CSU shot a blistering 59.3 percent from the floor and 55.6 percent from the three-point line in the win. Additionally, Cleveland State rallied from down 16 points in the first half to come back and defeat the Jaguars.
Tyree Appleby continued his outstanding play as the sophomore turned in a double-double with 26 points and 11 assists. Four Vikings reached double figures in scoring in the game as Jaalam Hill and Rashad Williams each scored 18 points, while Seth Millner contributed 17 points, eight rebounds and two assists.
The Vikings will likely need a similar effort to topple the Raiders who share the Horizon League top spot with a 10-4 conference ledger. In the first meeting between the two teams in Cleveland, Wright State prevailed 89-66 as Loudon Love scored 23 points and Bill Wampler added 21 points. Cleveland State was led by freshman Dibaji Walker who scored 17 points, while Hill had 15 points and Kasheem Thomas finished with 11 points.
Appleby continues his strong push for first team all-conference honors as he leads the Vikings averaging 17.2 points per game and leads the Horizon League averaging 5.5 assists per contest.
Williams ranks as the top three-point shooter in the Horizon League as he leads the conference in three-point field goal percentage in all games (.405) and in conference contests (.432). Williams is also chasing the CSU school record for three-pointers in a season and needs just 14 more in the final three games to break the record currently held by Trey Lewis.
Hill is the top shot blocker in the Horizon League in conference play averaging 1.4 per contest and he also ranks second in the conference shooting 60.2 percent from the floor in league games.
As a team, Cleveland State has been red-hot from the three-point line in the last three games as the Vikings are a combined 44-for-88 and are shooting 50.0 from deep over that stretch. CSU set a school record with 16 three-pointers in the win over Milwaukee and then had 13 versus UIC and 15 in the victory over IUPUI.