Cleveland, Ohio — The Cleveland State University men’s basketball team beat Wright State University 77-74 on Thursday night. The Vikings are now 6-18 (3-8) on the season.

Bobby Word led the team in scoring with 18 points, 12 of them coming the second half. Tyree Appleby and Kenny Carpenter added 17 and 14 points, respectively.

A key matchup that played out throughout the second half was matching up on defense with Wright State’s Loudon Love. Listed at 6’9” and 275 Lbs., Love dominated down low and often took on two of three Vikings on the boards.

Appleby and Carpenter talked after the game about matching up with Love during the game.

“I was trying my hardest to move him out the way,” Appleby said. “It wasn’t working though.”

“It’s a team effort on a guy like that,” Carpenter said.

With Evan Clayborne out for the night, Hairston was tasked with dealing with Love on offense and defense for most of the night, and was able to minimize the damage Love did on the court. Still, Love ended the game with 20 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.

The Vikings started the game hot — as they normally do — getting to a quick 9-2 lead over the Raiders. They would eventually hit a scoring slump, and let Wright State tie the game at 11, but eventually took the lead.

After a 16-16 tie, CSU retook the lead and held it for the rest of the half. They ended the half leading Wright State 39-30.

Carpenter and Appleby led the team at the half with 11 and 8 points, respectively. Carpenter was able to add four rebounds to that, as well as a three-quarter court shot to end the half.

CSU was able to hold their lead comfortably throughout the beginning of the second half in a back and forth game with Wright State.

With 10:32 left in the second half, the Raiders started to cut into CSU’s lead. By the 8:42 mark they turned a 58-49 deficit into a 60-point tie.

CSU was able to slow down Wright State’s run, but the Raiders were able to take the lead. It would remain a close game, and CSU retook the lead, 67-60, with 3:59 left in the game.

The game continued to be close and physical, but CSU was able to hold onto their lead for the rest of the game. Wright State’s Love had two free throws at the end of the game down 75-73, but was only able to make one of them.

With a one-point lead and 14 seconds left, the Vikings were able to beat the Raider’s full court press and get the ball down court to Stefan Kenic, who drew the foul on an almost break away layup. Kenic made both of his free throws to help seal the deal against Wright State.

After a missed buzzer beater by the Raiders, CSU was able to overcome the Horizon League leader, 77-74.

Head Coach Dennis Felton said a big part of this win was how CSU handled themselves in the second half when Wright State closed in on their lead.

“They held it together, and kept enough composure and believed in themselves,” Felton said. “We had enough possessions where we made things go our way.”

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Read Matthew Johns’ takeaways here.

Photo by Michael Pace

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