CLEVELAND – Cleveland State’s rally from a 15-point deficit with six minutes left came up just short as the Vikings fell to Wright State, 55-51, in the regular season finale on Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Vikings finish the regular season at 9-22 overall and 4-14 in the Horizon League, while Wright State finishes at 19-12 overall (13-5 HL).
Senior Vinny Zollo, who was playing in his final regular season game, was honored in a pre-game ceremony. He finished with six points and 10 rebounds, one shy of his career-high.
Rob Edwards scored game-high 20 points and added eight rebounds, while Kenny Carpenter scored 13 points and had six boards. Andre Yateschipped in nine points for CSU.
Michael Karena led the Raiders with 18 points.
A jumper by Biggie Minnis gave the Raiders their largest lead of the game, 49-34, with 6:06 to play. However, a three-pointer by Carpenter capped a 13-3 CSU run that pulled the Vikings within 52-47 with 1:11 to play.
After Minnis split a pair of free throws to push the lead back to six, Carpenter almost brought the Vikings within three, but his 28-footer rattled in and out with 36 seconds to play.
The Raiders missed the front end of a one-and-one on the other end, and Edwards made a three-pointer with 17 seconds left and finished off a four-point play with a free throw to pull CSU within two (53-51) with 16 seconds left.
But Mark Alstork knocked down two free throws with six seconds left to seal the win.
CSU used a Yates three-pointer to open up a 10-3 lead just seven minutes in, but the Raiders responded with a 14-3 run over the next seven-plus minutes to take a 17-13 lead at the 5:24 mark.
The Wright State lead reached as many as eight points (28-20) with 1:14 to play, but a Zollo jumper with 57 seconds on the clock brought the Vikings within six (28-22) at the half.
CSU out-rebounded the Raiders, 44-27.
The Vikings will return to action on Saturday (March 5) in the first round of the Horizon League Championship at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mich.
CSU will be either the No. 9 or No. 10 seed in the tournament, depending on UIC’s result at Milwaukee on Sunday.