UC Irvine (11-18) at UC Riverside (13-16)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 3, 8:00 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Student Rec. Cenin moves the Titans to 20-13 overall, giving them their 13th 20-win season in school history and the second under current head coach Ray McCallum.
Cleveland State had a great season with a 22-9 overall record, and it finished in second place in the Horizon League with a 12-6 mark. The Vikings were in first place on Feb. 5 after having won five in a row, but they proceeded to lose their next five games to slip in the standings. They were able to bounce back by winning their last two bouts of the regular season, but Valparaiso had already overtaken them as the regular-season champs. Though CSU missed out on the No. 1 seed and home court advantage, they still earned the ever-crucial double-bye into today's semifinals. The Vikings are 7-2 in the Horizon League Tournament over the past three seasons, which includes their run to the title in 2009.
Detroit has more than doubled up Cleveland State in the all-time series (35-17), though the Vikings swept the regular-season series this year.
Detroit was red-hot in its quarterfinal-round win over Youngstown State, shooting a season-high 60 percent from the floor, which was useful since the Penguins shot very well from the floor themselves (.547). A total of five players reached double figures, led by Ray McCallum's 22 points. Eli Holman notched his fourth double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. A strong offense has been the Titans' claim to fame this season, scoring a conference-best 72.5 ppg. McCallum (15.2 ppg, 3.8 apg) has proven to be one of the most productive players in the Horizon League, while Chase Simon has been a solid wingman with his 13.9 ppg. Holman (11.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg), Jason Calliste (10.1 ppg) and Doug Anderson (9.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg) round out a balanced offense that can hurt the opposition in a variety of ways.
Cleveland State's catalyst this season has been Trey Harmon, who fills up the stat sheet with 13.1 ppg, 2.1 apg, 1.4 spg, 2.4 three-pointers per game, and a free-throw percentage of .821. Harmon received two honors this week, being named to both the All-Horizon League Second Team as well as the league's All- Defensive Team. D'Aundray Brown chips in 10.8 ppg and ranks seventh nationally in steals (2.6 spg), earning him a spot alongside Harmon on the All-Defensive squad. Jeremy Montgomery also scores 10.8 ppg and dishes out a team-high 3.1 apg. The Vikings offense has been effective (66.3 ppg, .453 FG percentage), but as proven by their two ball-hawking studs, they have been lifted this season by its league-leading defense which allows foes to net just 59.5 ppg on 41.2 percent field goal efficiency.
The Titans are playing perhaps their best basketball of the year and an upset over the No. 2 seed here is not out of the question. However, CSU has bounced back nicely after faltering a few weeks ago and it has the defensive personnel to slow down Detroit.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cleveland State 73, Detroit 70
03/03 10:40:44 ET