CANCUN, Mexico – Cleveland State fell to South Dakota State, 77-66, in the championship game of the Mayan Division at the Cancun Classic on Wednesday afternoon at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya.
The Vikings fell to 2-3 this year, while SDSU, the preseason favorite in the Summit League, improved to 6-0.
It was just the second all-time meeting between the two schools and the first since an 82-72 SDSU win in Brookings, S.D., during the 1970-71 season.
Kenny Carpenter led the Vikings with a career-high 17 points and career-high tying seven rebounds. He hit 6-of-11 from the field, including 3-of-5 from three-point.
Andre Yates scored 10 points with three assists, while Demonte Flannigan scored nine points. Vinny Zollo chipped in eight points and three rebounds, while Jeron Rogers added nine points and five rebounds, both career-highs.
Rob Edwards tallied seven points, four rebounds and two steals.
Edwards and Yates were selected to the all-tournament team.
SDSU scored the first eight points of the game, including a pair of three-pointers, before baskets from Flannigan and Terrell Hales got the Vikings on the board. CSU got within three (18-15) on a Carpenter three-pointer midway through the first half, but the Jackrabbits opened up their largest lead of the game (40-26) on two free throws from Deondre Parks, who was named the Tournament MVP.
Two free throws from Aaron Scales and a three-pointer at the buzzer by Carpenter helped the Vikings cut the lead under double-digits (40-31) at halftime.
CSU scored the first six points of the second half to cut the lead to 40-37, but SDSU answered with nine straight points to take a 49-37 lead and force a Viking timeout seven minutes into the second half.
The lead would get as high as 20 points (63-43) on a George Marshall three-pointer with 8:36 to play, but CSU did not go quietly, cutting the deficit down to 11 points just four minutes later on a Carpenter layup.
Carpenter’s three-pointer with 1:14 to play, his third of the game, brought CSU within nine (75-66), but that was as close as the Vikings would get.
The Vikings hit a season-high seven three-pointers and committed just nine turnovers, while both teams grabbed 35 rebounds. SDSU shot 50-percent (23-46) from the floor and took advantage of 28 fouls called on CSU, going 24-of-32 at the free throw line.
CSU hit 13-of-19 free throws.
CSU concludes play in the Cancun Challenge with a game at No. 2 Maryland on Saturday (Nov. 28) at 7:30 pm.