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Cleveland State Men’s Hoops Hosts Green Bay In Horizon League Opener Thursday

GAME #13
Green Bay (6-6, 0-0 HL) at Cleveland State (4-8, 0-0 HL)
Thursday, December 29 | 7:00 pm ET
Cleveland, Ohio | Wolstein Center
Live Stats | ESPN3 (Blacked Out in NE Ohio) | Time Warner Sports Channel | AM 1420 WHK

GAME PREVIEW:
•     Following a week off for the holidays, the Cleveland State men’s basketball team returns to action on Thursday (Dec. 29) when the Vikings host Green Bay at 7:00 pm in the Horizon League opener at the Wolstein Center.
•    CSU concluded the non-conference slate at 4-8 overall and has been out of action since an 88-61 setback at Belmont on Dec. 22.
•    Green Bay posted a 6-6 mark in its non-conference schedule, including a 108-59 win over Saint Mary’s (Minn.) on Dec. 22.
•    Thursday’s game will be broadcast live on Time Warner Sports Channel and streamed on ESPN3 with Al Pawlowski and Pat Vuyancih providing the commentary.
•    Ed Daugherty will have the call on AM 1420, WHK.

THE GREEN BAY SERIES:
•     Green Bay leads the all-time series with CSU, 44-29.
•    The Phoenix have won eight of the last 10 in the series, including all three meetings last year.
•    CSU is 18-16 vs. Green Bay all-time in Cleveland, while Green Bay holds a 15-10 advantage in games in the Wolstein Center.

GAME 12 REVIEW: @BELMONT 88, CSU 61 (12/22/16)
•     The Vikings closed out the non-conference schedule with an 88-61 setback at Belmont last Thursday (Dec. 22).
•    Anthony Wright set career-highs in points (14) and rebounds (7) in 21 minutes off the bench, hitting 5-of-7 from the field.
•    Rob Edwards added 14 points, while Demonte Flannigan scored 11 and Kasheem Thomas posted five points and five boards.
•    Belmont shot .566 (30-53) for the game and 14-of-30 from three.

ON THE TUBE:
•    Thursday’s game against Green Bay will be the first of four CSU games that will be aired on Time Warner Sports Channel.
•    Saturday’s game against Milwaukee, as well as CSU’s home games vs. Northern Kentucky (Feb. 16) and Wright State (Feb. 18) will also be broadcast on Time Warner.

FOR THREE:
•    CSU has hit a three-pointer in a school-record 578 straight games.
•    The Vikings have hit at least three three’s in 127 straight games.
•     The last time CSU failed to make a three-pointer was Feb. 21, 1998, when the Vikings were 0-for-8 in a 60-57 win over Detroit.

A LOOK AT THE NON CONFERENCE SLATE:
•    Last Thursday’s game at Belmont concluded CSU’s non-conference schedule. Here’s a look at some of CSU’s numbers.

∞ The Vikings non-conference opponents have combined to go 81-54 (.600) this year (as of Dec. 27).
∞ Eight of CSU’s 12 non-league games were away from home.
∞ CSU’s non-league strength of schedule is ranked 40th according to RPIforecast.com.
∞ The out-of-conference schedule is ranked the most difficult among Horizon League teams and one of just two in the top-100 with Detroit Mercy checking in at 76th.

HOME SWEET HOME:
•     CSU improved to 4-0 at home this year with the win over Lake Erie on Dec. 19.
•    It marks the first time CSU has won its first four home games since the 2012-13 team won its first five home contests.
•    Head coach Gary Waters has posted a 111-40 (.735) record in the Wolstein Center during his 11 years at CSU.

THE GARY WATERS RADIO SHOW RETURNS ON JAN. 3:
•    The Gary Waters Radio Show, a weekly 60-minute call-in show about Cleveland State basketball returns beginning Jan. 3.
•    The show, which is on AM 1420 WHK,  is hosted by Al Pawlowski and runs from 7:00 pm until 8:00 pm.
•    A total of nine episodes are scheduled each Tuesday in January and February with on Wednesday (Feb. 22) show.

THE WRIGHT STUFF:
•    Anthony Wright had his strongest game as a Viking at Belmont.
•    He posted career-highs in points (14) and rebounds (7), adding two assists, a steal and a block in 21 minutes off the bench.
•    Wright is averaging 3.6 points and 2.4 rebounds this year. He missed three games (Dec. 3-10) due to an ankle injury.
•    Wright was a 2016 NJCAA Division I honorable mention All-American last year after averaging 17.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 3.3 steals per game, ranking fourth in the nation in steals.

EDWARDS NETS CAREER HIGH:
•     Sophomore Rob Edwards scored a career-high 28 points in the Nov. 23 setback at No. 1 ranked Kentucky.
•    Edwards also set career-highs in field goals made (12) and attempted (21) against the Wildcats.
•    His old career-high was 26 points set last season at Detroit.
•    Edwards has six career 20-point games, including three this year.

… AND PROVES WORTHY OF PRESEASON HONOR:
•     Rob Edwards was named to the preseason All-Horizon League second team.
•    He ranks eighth in the Horizon League in scoring (15.3), 13th in steals (1.1) and 14th in free throw percentage (.755).
•    Last year, he averaged 12.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game last year, earning a spot on the Horizon League All-Freshman team.
•    He started 30 games last year, the most for a freshman in CSU history, and also logged a CSU freshman record 994 minutes.

WORD UP:
•     Bobby Word scored a career-high 25 points in a win over Western Michigan (Dec. 7). He hit 9-of-12 from the field, including 5-of-8 from three-point.
•    It bettered his old career-high of 22 points in the second round of the CBI against Loyola (Ill.) when he was at Oral Roberts.
•    Word made his CSU debut against Kent State (Nov. 12). He sat out last season after transferring from Oral Robets.
•    Word scored a team-high 17 points in the season opener against Kent State (Nov. 12), hitting four three-pointers.
•    He ranks 24th in the League in scoring (11.3) and eighth in three-pointers (2.1).

FLANNIGAN BACK IN THE LINEUP:
•     Since missing the first four games due to a medical issue, Demonte Flannigan has come back to provide CSU with a strong post presence.
•    In eight games, Flannigan is averaging 11.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, shooting .470 (39-83) from the field.
•    He posted back-to-back 20-point games, scoring 21 against Bethune-Cookman (Dec. 3) and 20 versus Western Michigan (Dec. 7).
•    Flannigan has six career 20-point games and five career double-doubles.

KASH DROPPING DIMES:
•     Freshman Kasheem Thomas ranks third in the Horizon League with 3.9 assists per game.
•    He has recorded at least six assists in four games this year with nine in the season opener vs. Kent State (Nov. 12), seven vs. Canisius (Nov. 15) and six assists at Duquense (Nov. 27) and at Purdue (Dec. 10).
•    Thomas has a 2.0 assist-to-turnover-ratio to rank fourth in the League.
•    Thomas is averaging 7.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists this year, playing 29.0 minutes per game, the second most on the team.
•    Thomas became the first CSU freshman to start a season opener since 2003-04 (Walt Waters) when he drew a starting assignment vs. Kent State (Nov. 12).

ALL IN THE FAMILY:
•     Sophomore Jibri Blount is the son of NFL Hall of Famer and former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Mel Blount who played 14 seasons for the Black and Gold.
•    Blount is averaging 6.7 points and 3.3 rebounds this year.
•    Blount tied his career-high with 11 rebounds at UT-Martin (Nov. 18).

EDWARDS AT THE FREE THROW LINE:
•    Rob Edwards set career-highs in free throws made (8) and attempted (14) against Bethune-Cookman (Dec. 3).
•    The 14 free throw attempts were the most by a CSU player since Aaron Pogue shot 15 in a win over Vermont (3/15/11) in the first round of the NIT.
•    Edwards is 126-of-168 (.750) at the free throw line for his career.

UP NEXT:
•    CSU concludes the opening weekend of Horizon League play when the Vikings host Milwaukee on Saturday (Dec. 31) at 3:30 pm in the Wolstein Center.
•    It will be a doubleheader with the CSU women hosting Youngstown State at 1:00 pm.

Matt Loede has been a part of the Cleveland Sports Media for over 21 years, with experience covering Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, the National Football League and even high school and college events. He has been a part of the Cleveland Indians coverage since the opening of Jacobs/Progressive Field in 1994, and spent two and a half years covering the team for 92.3 The Fan, and covers them daily for Associated Press Radio. You can follow Matt on Twitter HERE.

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