Dec. 7, 2010
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By: Robert Ivory
CLEVELAND, Ohio- The Cleveland State Vikings used their hot shooting and stingy defense to continue their best run to start a season in school history with a 94-62 dismantling of West Virginia Tech, Tuesday night at the Wolstein Center. CSU used a 17-0 run in the first half to distance themselves from the Golden Bears.
"We went into this game with some goals and objectives," Cleveland State head coach Gary Waters said. "One was to hold this team in the 50s shooting, which we did with our starters. We're in a pretty good spot, they're humble young men, and they can turn up the heat, which is what I like about this team."
Cleveland State stays perfect at 11-0 and ties a school record of 11 wins before January 1, which was set in 2007-08.
Four different Vikings scored in double figures, as current Horizon League Player of the Week, Norris Cole, led all scorers with 24 points, and added five assist, five steals, and three rebounds.
The Vikings held West Virginia Tech to just 36% shooting (21-58), holding each of their first 11 opponents to under 50%, and created 22 turnovers to help the Vikings. Cleveland State scored 44 points in the paint and 35 off Golden Bear turnovers.
"I had to make plays for my team tonight and I basically tried to get the victory as we did, but our establishment is defense and that's what we do," Montgomery said. Montgomery would add a career-high eight rebounds as the Vikes won the battle on the boards 43-38.
The Vikings shot 49.3% on the night (34-69) and hit 15 of their 23 three pointers.
CSU had a tough time out of the gates as they hit just one of their first four shots, all three pointers, in a matter of 40 seconds. Cleveland State held a consistent three point lead until Cole hit a basket in the paint to make it 15-10.
West Virginia Tech retook the lead on a long three-pointer from David Henderson at the top of the arc to make it 16-15, but that would be West Virginia Tech's last lead of the game.
The Golden Bears used the long shot well, hitting their first three from beyond the arc and made it a 19-19 ball game.
"We gave up too many points and we had to remind ourselves that this was a defensive game," Cole said.
On the next possession down the floor, Josh McCoy hit a bucket in the paint to retake the lead. The Vikings then went on a 17-0 run over 4:11 to give the Vikings 36-19 lead.
A Norris Cole three-pointer from the top of the arc finally gave the Vikings the breathing room they needed, as his three-pointer with 9:50 put CSU out to a 27-19 lead, their biggest lead up to that point. That basket seemed to ignite the team and help them push out to a comfortable lead.
"Once we went on that run, we remembered who we were and what we have to do," Cole said.
Cleveland State was able to get the Golden Bears to turn the ball over 13 times in the first half alone and was able to turn them into 21 CSU points. CSU also held West Virginia Tech to just 37% shooting at the half.
Charlie Woods closed out the CSU half as Harmon found him under the basket. Woods threw up the prayer under the net and was able to drain it, get the foul, and get the Vikings a 51-29 lead going into the half.
The Vikings did not let their foot off the accelerator in the second half and made a 12-2 run over the first four and a half minutes to make it a 63-31 lead.
Harmon hit a layup with 9:30 in the game to make it 78-41. It would be the last field goal made by a Viking starter, as the bench contributed 30 points, including McCoy's 14 and Charlie Woods' seven.
"I tried to go out there and play," McCoy said. "My job coming off the bench is rebounding and defending, because that is what we do. I just try to bring a lift off the bench as much as I can."
The loss drops the Golden Bears to 4-2 on the year.
The Vikings next head on the road for a two-game road trip starting with Sam Houston State on Saturday (Dec. 11) with tip slated for 4:30 p.m. A week later, they are in Morgantown with a showdown with West Virginia on Saturday (Dec. 18) starting at 2:00 p.m.