Coming into the game, I joked that both teams were at the top of my power rankings of 2-5 teams. It wasn’t entirely a joke. Both teams have a lot of potential, and I went into this game looking for answers as to the actual status of each team.
It didn’t go well for the Broncos. They took an early lead, but did so while shooting 70%. They were in the right places, and did a great job switching defensively. Then reality struck.
Their shooting cooled off, and they started to break down defensively, as Cleveland State heated up, and the Vikings took a 37-31 halftime lead. The stats were about as equal as the score. The encouraging news for the Broncos was that freshman Reggie Jones led them in scoring with 9. Thomas Wilder added 8.
CSU was led by Rob Edwards 13 and Bobby Word with 10.
Unfortunately for the Broncos, they let their youth show in the second half, and after a few turnovers, a route ensued. WMU stopped hitting their shots, and CSU started hitting theirs. Momentum is real, folks, especially in basketball.
Demonte Jones came on strong for the Vikings and finished with 20 on 8-13 shooting. Bobby Ward led all scorers with 25, on 9-12 shooting. Edwards finished with 15 on 6-12 shooting. In fact, all 5 CSU starters finished the game with 71 points on 62% shooting.
Meanwhile, coach Hawkins went deep into his bench, with 11 players scoring. After CSU broke the game open, I believe he decided to use this as a learning experience and got his youthful team some much needed experience.