CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland State University men's basketball head coach Dennis Felton won his 200th game as a collegiate head coach as he led the Vikings to a 77-56 win over visiting Notre Dame (Ohio) Sunday afternoon inside the Wolstein Center.
It was the second straight win for CSU, who hit 13 three-pointers against NDC after nailing a school-record 15 last time out.
"Well this is how much it means," Felton said of his 200th win. "When they started the announcement, I was trying to think what they were going to say. I was clueless. Every win is precious. It means I've felt relieved and good about the result 200 times."
Cleveland State, which led for over 38 minutes Sunday and led by double digits for nearly the entire second half, had an unselfish display that saw the Vikings finish with 20 assists on 26 made field goals.
Sophomore Stefan Kenic had a team-high 18 points on 6-for-10 shooting while adding six rebounds and two assists without committing a turnover. He tied his career high of four three-pointers and scored in double figures for the fourth straight game.
Sophomore Tyree Appleby notched his first collegiate double-double as he had 12 points and a career-high, game-high and team season-high 10 assists. He only had two turnovers while tying his career best of four steals.
Junior Kasheem Thomas had a season-high 12 points, a season-high tying six rebounds, three assists and two steals against a lone turnover.
The teams exchanged slim leads in the early going and found themselves tied, 8-8, just over six minutes into the game.
CSU then used an 11-3 run to gain a bit more of an advantage with Kenic scoring five points in the run.
Notre Dame immediately responded with a 10-2 spurt, hitting a pair of threes and a pair of twos, to tie the game, 21-21, with just under five minutes left in the half.
After the game was tied, Cleveland State immediately responded on the next possession when Kenic hit a three assisted by Appleby. That jumpstarted a 13-0 run, as freshman Rashad Williams scored seven points in the spurt, to push CSU into a 34-21 lead with about a minute left.
The Falcons scored on their final possession of the half to set the halftime margin at 34-23.
CSU's lead stayed between 10-15 points for the first nine minutes of the second half before the Falcons used a four-point play to cut their deficit to 50-43.
Leading 53-45 with nine minutes left, the Vikings proceeded to go on a 20-5 run to put the game to bed. Thomas started the run with a three assisted by Appleby before the two flipped roles on the next possession with Appleby hitting the triple.
Freshman Seth Millner followed with four points, Thomas hit another three and then Kenic added five points sandwiched around an Appleby fast-break layup.
Cleveland State's bench had a 27-14 lead in points, the eighth time this season that CSU has had an advantage in that category. The Vikings also led in fast-break points, 11-3, and points off turnovers, 12-4.
"Our team played unselfishly, led by Tyree and Kash," Felton said. "One of the good characteristics about this year's team is our ability score assisted baskets. Twenty of our 26 field goals were assisted today. That was one of the hallmarks of the game."
Millner finished with eight points and a game-high nine rebounds without turning the ball over. Freshman Rashad Williams tallied 12 points to post his fourth double-figure scoring game of the season.
Kenic reached double digits in scoring for the eighth time in nine games while Appleby did so for the fifth straight outing and the eighth time overall in 2018-19.
Cleveland State will take a week off from games with final exams taking place and will resume action next Sunday, Dec. 16, at Illinois State.