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Cleveland State Tops Defending Horizon League Champion Northern Kentucky 89-80

Provided by CSU Athletics

Eighth-seeded Cleveland State used four players in double figures and a pair of three-pointers late to take its first lead of the night and defeated top-seeded and defending tournament champion Northern Kentucky, 89-80, in the quarterfinals of the 2018 Horizon League Championship on Saturday night.

The Vikings improved to 11-22 overall and advance to the semfinals. CSU will play on Monday night at 7:00 pm against the winner of Sunday’s quarterfinal between fourth-seeded Oakland and fifth-seeded IUPUI.

Tyree Appleby led the Vikings with 24 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while Stefan Kenic added 17 points and four rebounds. Kenny Carpenter contributed 15 points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals and Bobby Word had 12 points.

Anthony Wright finished with seven points and five rebounds.

“This was a terrific win for our team,” head coach Dennis Felton said. “I have so much respect for Northern Kentucky and their program. Whenever you play them, it’s going to be a challenging game because they have a lot of talent. That makes this win that much more gratifying and we are thrilled to be able to play again and continue to compete for a championship.”

The Vikings started cold from the field as NKU opened up a 21-6 lead 11 minutes into the game. However, CSU began to find its groove on the offensive end, using a 17-5 run over the next eight minutes to pull within three points (26-23) on a Carpenter jumper.

The teams continued to trade baskets until an NKU tip-in at the buzzer gave the Norse a 33-28 lead at the half.

CSU used a steal and dunk from Wright and a three-pointer by Word to open the second half and tie the game at 33-33 just over one minute in.

The game remained close as the teams combined to make 11 of the first 14 field goals to open the half.

The Norse opened up a six point lead (57-51) with 11 minutes to play, but CSU responded with six straight points to tie the game at 57-57 just one minute later on a Jamarcus Hairston layup. NKU would open a four point lead (73-69) with five minutes left, but Carpenter grabbed an offensive rebound, scored and hit a free throw to give the Vikings a 77-75 lead with 2:20 to play.

After an NKU turnover, Appleby found Kenic in the corner for a three-pointer to extend the lead to five points and following another Norse turnover, Appleby delivered the dagger with a three-pointer from the top of the key as the shot clock was winding down to give CSU an 83-75 lead with 1:02 to play.

The Vikings, who scored 61 points in the second half, shot .474 (27-57) for the game and made just eight turnovers.

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