CLEVELAND, Ohio – One game after having six players reach double figures, the Cleveland State University men's basketball team saw five players hit double digits in the scoring column to lead the Vikings to an 84-69 win over visiting South Carolina State Friday night in the Wolstein Center.
CSU picks up its second straight win to improve to 2-2 on the young season.
"The win feels good," head coach Dennis Felton said. "South Carolina State is a challenging team from the standpoint of being fast and athletic and with their ability to score in transition. They're hard to guard in space ... we made a very good step forward in that area tonight, and if we wouldn't have, we would've had no chance."
Sophomore Stefan Kenic tied his career high in points, scoring 19 in 25 minutes, while adding four rebounds.
Classmate Algevon Eichelberger had a career-high 15 points on perfect 6-for-6 shooting from the floor while adding a pair of blocks.
Sophomore Tyree Appleby also added 15 points while posting a half dozen assists, hitting that number for the second straight game, against a lone turnover.
Kenic had 10 points in the opening seven minutes to help CSU to an early 18-11 lead. The Bulldogs scored 11 of the game's next 13 points to take a 22-20 edge.
The Vikings weathered the surge and ended the first half on a 13-5 run over the final 6:30 to take a 37-31 lead into the break.
Cleveland State pushed its lead to nine early in the second half, but it took a little while to put away the Bulldogs for good. SCSU scratched its way back to one-possession deficits on multiple occasions but could get no closer than two points.
With about six minutes left in the game, an old-fashioned three-point play by Eichelberger and a triple by freshman Rashad Williams, both assisted by Appleby, on back-to-back possession pushed a five-point edge into a double-digit lead for the first time in the game.
The Bulldogs would get no closer than seven points the rest of the way as the Vikings led by double digits for the large majority of the final five minutes.
Cleveland State only had eight turnovers on the night, which helped the Vikings post a large 25-4 advantage in points off turnovers.
CSU's bench outscored that of the Bulldogs, 30-8, marking the fourth time in four games that the Viking bench outscored its counterpart.
"Our bench is always going to be productive because we have good talent depth," Felton said. "The only thing holding us back is experience... the one thing we're trying to emphasize now is teaching how hard you have to play, how physical you have to play."
Williams led the bench with 11 points, his third double-figure scoring game in his opening four collegiate contests. He also added four rebounds.
Junior Jaalam Hill had 10 points, six rebounds and three assists against a lone turnover and had a thunderous putback dunk to put an exclamation point on the win late on in the game.
Junior Kasheem Thomas had eight points, two rebounds and two assists without a turnover off the bench.
The Vikings shot 49.2% from the floor (29-of-59) while holding SCSU to a 44.6% mark (25-of-56). CSU had 16 assists on its 29 field goals.
Cleveland State will conclude a four-game homestand this Sunday, Nov. 18, when it hosts Samford.