FACTS & STATS: Site: Wright State Nutter Center (11,019) -- Dayton, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Cleveland State 6-1, Wright State 7-0. Away Record: Cleveland State 1-6, Wright State 3-3. Neutral Record: Cleveland State 2-0, Wright State 1-1. Conference Record: Cleveland State 1-1, Wright State 2-0. Series Record: Cleveland State leads, 30-27.
GAMES NOTES: Riding the momentum of a three-game winning streak the Wright State Raiders will square off with the Cleveland State Vikings in a Horizon League showdown at the Nutter Center.
Cleveland State had been struggling, with losses in three of four games, before posting a 60-50 win over Illinois-Chicago on Monday night. The win was the first in league play for the Vikings and moved them to 9-7 overall. Cleveland State has been disastrous on the road this year with one win in seven tries away from home. Cleveland State won't be on the road long as it hosts Detroit next.
With a 53-51 win over Milwaukee last time out, Wright State remained perfect in two Horizon League tests and also won for the third straight game and the sixth time in the last seven. The recent surge by the Raiders has them at 11-4 overall and a perfect 7-0 at home. Wright State will kick off a four-game road trip next when the Raiders take on Loyola-Chicago on Friday.
This has been one of the more competitive rivalries in the Horizon League with Cleveland State owning a slight edge (30-27) in the all-time series. The Vikings however have dominated of late, winning the last six matchups.
Led by 14 points from Bryn Forbes the Vikings were able to overcome UIC on Monday. The Vikings hit on 42.2 percent of their shots from the field and had a slim 32-30 edge on the boards in the win. Cleveland State also held UIC to 33.3 percent shooting, including a 26.9 percent effort in the second half.
Without Anton Grady (13.7 ppg), the Vikings' lead scorer who was lost to a knee injury at the end of November, Cleveland State has been trying to find a new go-to option. Charlie Lee (11.9 ppg) and Forbes (10.1 ppg) have largely took up those responsibilities. Forbes has been especially productive scoring in double figures in each of the five games since Grady's injury. Lee has cooled since a hot start to the season failing to score in double figures in five of the last seven games after doing so in eight of the first nine. Overall the Vikings are ranked fifth in the Horizon League in scoring (66.2 ppg), while shooting at the second best rate (.434 percent) from the floor. Cleveland State is normally on the short end in terms of rebounds as the Vikings collect the fewest boards (30.5 pg) in the conference.
Although Reggie Arceneaux missed a pair of free throws in the final minute that would have iced the game, Wright State managed to hold on for a 53-51 win against Milwaukee. Both teams struggled to find their shot in the contest with Wright State hitting on 41.5 percent of its field goal attempts to 34.1 percent from Milwaukee.
Although the Raiders are the lowest scoring team in the Horizon League (61.5 ppg) they have still managed to pick up the most non-conference wins thanks to their stellar defensive efforts. Wright State has limited teams to just 55.7 points per game which not only leads the conference but is the 12th-best mark in the country. Wright State has done so by limiting teams to just 9.3 assists per game and less than 40 percent shooting. Wright State also has trouble on the boards (30.9 rpg) ranking above only the Vikings in the league. There is no dominant scorer for Wright State with Cole Darling (10.8 ppg), Miles Dixon (10.2 ppg) and Arceneaux (10.0 ppg) the top offensive options. Arceneaux has the most potential to up his numbers as he plays a team-high 30.5 minutes per game, but a 36.6 field goal percentage has held him back.
Without Grady the Vikings just don't have enough scoring options to solve what has been one of the best defensive teams in the country in Wright State.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wright State 65, Cleveland State 60
01/09 10:32:47 ET
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