Vikings Top Loyola, 80-66 In Horizon League Championship First Round
March 2, 2010
Contact: Brian McCann
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Norris Cole scored 15 points and handed out a career-high 11 assists for his third career double-double and the Viking defense held the Ramblers to 33-percent shooting as Cleveland State upended Loyola, 80-66, in the opening round of the 2010 Speedway Horizon League Championship.
The Vikings, who entered the game as the No. 5 seed, improved to 16-16 on the year while Loyola, the No. 8 seed, ends the year with a 14-16 mark. Cleveland State advances to face No. 4 Milwaukee, who knocked off No. 9 UIC, 73-67.
Cole led four Vikings in double figures, adding five rebounds and four steals, while Aaron Pogue added 13 points and seven rebounds while Jeremy Montgomery added 11 points and D'Aundray Brown 10 points. Andy olka led Loyola with 21 points and 12 rebounds while Walt Gibler, the Horizon League Sixth Man of the year, came off the bench to score 21 points with 10 rebounds.
"I thought we played a tremendous first half on both offense and defense," CSU head coach Gary Waters said. "We gave up a little during the second half, but we came back and closed the game in the end. When we do what we do best, that is when we win games.
"We still need to focus on playing for 40 minutes, which we haven't done down the stretch," Waters added.
The Vikings took control of the game in the first half. Trailing 5-2, CSU ran off 10 straight points to go up, 12-5. Minutes later, CSU the Vikings started a 12-1 burst that extended the lead to 26-11 with 10:17 left.
CSU would go on to lead by as many as 20 in the first half, by 17 at half (44-27), and by 19 in the second stanza (54-35 (14:59) before Loyola would methodically cut the advantage down to 57-52 with 8:00 left.
Waters countered the charge by going with his big lineup for the first time all season, using 6-9 Aaron Pogue and 6-11 Joe Latas together on the court to shut down Loyola's post offense while providing a spark offensively for the Vikings.
Latas finished with a season-high six points, grabbed three rebounds and blocked a pair of shots. He sandwiched a basket inside off a nice pass from Cole with 7:44 left and a pair of free throws with 6:15 left around a Montgomery three-pointer to key a 7-0 run that pushed CSU back ahead, 64-52.
The Ramblers would close to within 65-57 (5:09) but the Vikings slammed the door right there, scoring 11 straight points to lead 76-57 (2:54).
"They are big and physical inside and we had to match that tonight," Waters said. "Having great play inside is great for us because it allows us to do more against bigger teams."
The Vikings accomplished their goal of limiting the tandem of Terrance Hill (11.6 ppg) and Geoff McCammon *11.1.ppg), who entered the game as the squad's two leading scorers. With Cole and Brown getting the defensive assignments, Hill went two-for-eight from the field to finish with five points while McCammon could manage just three points in 26 minutes.
The Vikings shot .528 from the field for the game (28-53), including .640 in the first half (16-25). Loyola was cold in the first half, going just seven-for-25 (.280) and warmed slightly in the second half but still made just 19 of its 57 field goal attempts (.333).
The win sends CSU to a second round match-up in Indianapolis on Friday. No. 3 Green Bay will face No. 7 Detroit at 6:00 p.m. with the winner going on to face No. 2 Wright State on Saturday (March 6) at 5:15 p.m. CSU will take on Milwaukee on Friday at 8:00 with the winner taking on regular season champion Butler on Saturday at 8:00 p.m.