All-Time in CBI: First Appearance
Last Meeting: N/A
Radio: 1350 AM The Gambler
Play-By-Play: Ed Daugherty
TV: FloHoops(First two Rounds)/ESPN2
SETTING THE SCENE
The Cleveland State Men's Basketball team closes out the 2022-23 season with a trip to Daytona Beach for the 2023 Discount Tire College Basketball Invitational. The Vikings have amassed 21 wins on the year and head into the tournament fresh off a runner-up finish in the Horizon League Tournament last week. This is Cleveland State's third consecutive postseason appearance. The Vikings are seeded ninth in the 16-team field and open with eighth-seeded Eastern Kentucky in the first round.
CLEVELAND STATE IN THE CBI
This is the 16th edition of the College Basketball Invitational. The CBI is a single-elimination tournament that comprises 16 teams. The Vikings are making their first ever appearance in the CBI. Cleveland State joins fellow Horizon League member Milwaukee in the tournament field. The Vikings are one of four Horizon League teams to earn postseason opportunities, joining Northern Kentucky(NCAA) and Youngstown State(NIT).
ENARUNA, PARKER AND JOHNSON EARN #HLMBB POSTSEASON AWARDS
Tristan Enaruna, Deshon Parker and Deante Johnson were recognized on the Horizon League's posteason awards list which were announced earlier this week. Enaruna was named to the first team, and Parker and Johnson were named to the all-defensive team. Enaruna ranks in the top ten in scoring and rebounding in the conference, and has registered 18 consecutive games in double figures. Parker earns all-defensive team honors for the first time, after ranking in the top 15 in the league in steals. Johnson lands on the all-defensive team for the third straight year, after finishing third in the league in blocked shots with 1.4 per game.
SCOUTING THE COLONELS
Eastern Kentucky is 20-13 overall and finished with a 12-6 record in the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2022-23. This will be the second time the Vikings and Colonels have met, with both games coming on neutral courts. The first meeting was in 2019 in Washington, DC as part of the Battle for the Capital tournament. The Vikings won 65-51. EKU finished in a tie for third in the A-Sun in the regular season and reached the semifinals of the conference tournament before falling to Liberty. Devontae Blanton is the leading scorer, averaging 16.6 points per game. Blanton hails from Macedonia and went to High School at St. Edward. A.W. Hamilton is in his fifth season as the head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: VIKINGS FALL TO NKU IN TITLE GAME THRILLER
Cleveland State's run in the Barbasol Horizon League Tournament came to an end last week, as the Vikings fell just short in a back-and-forth championship game battle with Northern Kentucky. NKU prevailed 63-61 in a game that was close throughout. There were 14 lead changes and 12 ties, and neither team held a lead bigger than seven points the entire night. The Vikings finished the season as the league's runner-up after being picked seventh in the preseason poll.
VIKINGS IN THE POSTSEASON FOR THE THIRD STRAIGHT SEASON
Cleveland State is making its third consecutive trip to the postseason. In 2021, CSU played in the NCAA Tournament after winning the Horizon League Tournament. The Vikings drew a 15 seed and fell in the first round to Houston. Last year, Cleveland State played in the NIT, falling in the first round at Xavier by four points. The Vikings earned the Horizon League's automatic bid after capturing a second consecutive regular season championship. This year marks the Vikings' first appeaerance in the CBI.
GETTING IT DONE ON DEFENSE
Throughout the season, Cleveland State has found success defensively. The Vikings are holding opponents to an average of 67.4 points per game in conference play, which is third in the Horizon League. CSU ranks second in opponent field goal percentage, at .423, and ranks third in opponent three-point percentage, holding opposing teams to just 32-percent from long range.
COACH ROBINSON ANNOUNCES COACHING STAFF
Head Coach Daniyal Robinson has assembled an experienced coaching staff in his first season at Cleveland State. Jermaine Henderson returns to CSU after previously serving as an assistant coach during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons under Gary Waters. Henderson most recently served as an assistant coach at Kansas State for the past five seasons. Travis Lewis is in his second season on staff at Cleveland State, after serving as Director of Video Operations under former head coach Dennis Gates last season. Jay Shunnar enters his first season as an assistant coach, after working in several capacities under John Belein at the University of Michigan and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
CLEANING THE OFFENSIVE GLASS
Cleveland State ranks second in the Horizon League and in the top-20 nationally in offensive rebounding. Cleveland State averages 12.59 offensive rebounds per game, which is good for 19th in the country.
ENARUNA NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Transfer forward Tristan Enaruna was named to the Horizon League All-Tournament team last week at the conclusion of the championship game. Enaruna averaged 21.3 points per game during the tournament run, along with 6.6 rebounds per contest. The junior also connected on 79 percent of his free throw attempts throughout the three games.
PARKER NAMED TO #HLMBB ALL-ACADEMIC TEAM
Deshon Parker was named to the Horizon League Men's Basketball Honorable Mention All-Academic team, the league announced Thursday. Parker is one of eight players to receive the recognition. The senior carries a 3.64 GPA as a Communication Studies major. Parker is a two time Dean's List honoree and also has been named to the President's List. This fall, he was named to the Horizon League Academic Honor Roll.
Last Sunday's game marked the final regular-season home game for three Vikings: Deante Johnson, Yahel Hill and Deshon Parker. Cleveland State honored the trio in a pre-game ceremony along with their families.
WILLIAMS RISES TO THE OCCASION
Tae Williams has been a key to the Vikings' success in the early going of the regular season. Williams registered a season-high 23 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Detroit Mercy. Williams is averaging 10 points per game and has scored in double figures 16 times so far this season, including four of the last five games. He has registered back-to-back double-doubles, including a 30 point, 14 rebound performance at Green Bay last weekend.
LOWDER LIGHTS IT UP
Drew Lowder has been an energizer for Cleveland State, and played his way into the starting lineup. Lowder had a stretch of three of five games where he scored in double figures, including a season-high 16 points in the win over Oakland. He has scored in double figures in four of his last six games, including a season-high 21 in the first matchup with Green Bay.