Cleveland State stayed in the running for the Horizon League regular season men’s basketball crown with an 81-69 win over Detroit behind the combined 40 points fromTrevon Harmon and Norris Cole and a 22-9 run over the final 7 minutes 44 seconds.
The win pushed the Vikings to 6-2 in the HL while the Titans, who were led by 16 points each from Eli Holman and Nick Minnerath, fell to 4-4 in the league.
Valparaiso and Butler both are home on Friday, with Valparaiso (6-1) playing Milwaukee (4-4) and Butler (5-2) hosting Green Bay (4-3).
“Norris Cole did a good job of closing it out,” said Detroit coach Ray McCallum Sr. “I’m proud of our guys coming back but late in the game you have got to get stops and you’ve got to score. We also missed a number of free throws.”
Cleveland State coach Gary Waters didn’t disagree.
“It’s the Norris Cole factor,” said Waters. “Every team needs a player that can take his team to another level and Norris is that kind of player.”
Cole, who scored 18 points to trail only Harmon’s 22, had 11 assists and four rebounds as the Vikings won for the second time in a row after back-to-back-losses on the road to Butler and Valparaiso.
After taking a 39-32 lead into the half, the Vikings saw the Titans rally and take the lead at 60-59 with 8:05 left on one of two free throws from the younger Ray McCallum, the son of the Detroit coach.
But Viking center Aaron Pogue split a pair of free throws to tie the game at 60 with 7:44 left and split another pair of charity tosses at 7:15 to give the Vikings a 61-60 lead they never relinquished.
Cleveland State stretched the lead to 68-60 with a 9-0 run and pushed the margin out to 74-61 with a 3-pointer from Tim Kamczyc, who was perfect from the floor on 3-for-3 including 2-for-2 from behind the arc on the way to a 10-point night.
From there, the Vikings went 7-for-12 from the foul line to keep the Titans at a safe distance.
Cleveland State, which has had problems getting points from its bench, had no such problems against Detroit, as Charlie Woods scored eight points and had three boards to pace the 23-point night from the combined bench players for the Vikings.
That was enough to offset Detroit’s rebounding edge of 39-27 led by 14 from Holman for the Titans.
The Vikings, who tied their record for consecutive wins at the Wolstein Center with 13, look to push past that mark at 2 p.m. Saturday with a visit from Wright State, which moved to 6-2 with a road win on Thursday at Youngstown State (1-7).
Cleveland State last won 13 straight home games from Dec. 20, 2008 through Nov. 21, 2009.
The school record for consecutive home wins is 27 set Jan. 26, 1985 to Jan. 24, 1987 with most of the games played at Woodling Gym on the CSU campus.
Cleveland State split two games last season with the Raiders and have won the last two meetings with Wright State at the Wolstein Center.
The Vikings are 3-5 against Wright State under Waters with a 2-2 mark at home. With the win over Detroit, Waters tied former Viking coach Rollie Massimino with 90 wins at CSU. Massimino went 90-113 in seven seasons while Waters moved to 90-65 in his fifth season with the Vikings.