CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland State Vikings have not seen the Wolstein Center much this season, playing just four of their first 11 games at home.
Wednesday night a sparse 1169 watched as coach Gary Waters earned his 300th win as coach as CSU topped a game Notre Dame Falcons team 77-66.
“The game wasn’t about who scored anything, it was about who turned the ball over,” Waters said. “We (turned it over) 21 times, and only four were forced by them, and it’s a number of people on our side.”
Cleveland State’s 21 turnovers led to 24 Notre Dame points, making this game a lot harder on the Vikings than it probably should have been against a Division II school.
“Our guys were resilient,” Waters said. “It’s good just to get away with a win more than anything.”
The win puts the Vikings at 7-4 on the season, and showed again that nothing comes easy for the Vikings, as they lead by as many as 13 in both the first and second halves.
Notre Dame led by seven with 15:20 to go, but the Vikings recovered with a strong defensive effort over the last 15 minutes, outscoring the Falcons 37-19.
Marlin Mason was a force for the Vikings, as he put in a game-high 19 points on 9-for-12 shooting. Cleveland State guards Charlie Lee and Sebastian Douglas were big for CSU, combining for 21 points and 7 assists.
“What makes (Lee and Douglas) good is they are so dang quick, and they can alternate it and shoot it,” Notre Dame coach Kevin Billie said.
Despite being down, the Vikings knew they were still in the game down seven, and were able to flip the switch and start the comeback with big time play from Mason, Lee and Bryn Forbes, who had 12 off the bench for CSU.
“It never came across our minds we would lose,” Lee said about the team being down seven. “We knew there was enough time left on the clock to come back.”
Forward Eric Dummermuth led the Falcons with 18 points, and former Cleveland Heights star guard Tyree Gaiter gave the Vikings all they could handle with 16 points.
“Tyree thought he should be at Cleveland State,” Waters said. “I knew he would take this on as a major, major challenge.”
The Vikings now will await another big challenge themselves, as Sunday they head to Akron to take on a Zips team they have beaten two straight years.
The game is at 2pm, and then the Vikings conclude the 2012 calendar year when CSU hosts Rio Grande at 7:00 p.m. on December 28th.