A Page -- Dec. 28, 2011

Ignatius moves to 19-0 with 7-0 blanking of Padua in its own Christmas tourney; Paddy Spellacy scores twice, five others bury goals

BROOKLYN – St. Ignatius moved its hockey record to 19-0 with Tuesday morning’s 7-0 win over Padua here in the John M. Coyne Recreation Center in the second round of the St. Ignatius Christmas Tournament.

The Wildcats will close out the tournament with a 10 o’clock game this morning against Canisius after canceling its game with the Crusaders Tuesday night due to a New York state rule prohibiting high school hockey teams from playing more than one game in the same day.

Thus, St. Ignatius forfeited the right to play Gilmour in the championship game to Padua because it wants to get as many out-of-town opponents as possible and wants to play good guests to its Jesuit “brothers” from the other state along the lake.

Listen to post-game interview with St. Ignatius Student/Athlete Paddy Spellacy by clicking and downloading


Paddy Spellacy, St. Ignatius’ all-time leading scorer, tallied two goals while five others each came through with one for the Wildcats.

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And By Clicking on the Dec. 28 A Page

Back-up goalie Bobby Fricker earned the shutout in goal for the Wildcats. Fricker had just picked up a win in one of the games in the Ontario, Canada tournament last weekend.

The Wildcats outshot the Bruins by a 3-1 margin, 45-15, for the game.

Listen to post-game interview with St. Ignatius Student/Athlete Bobby Fricker by clicking and downloading


Iggy began pelting bruin goalie Dave Jech from the get go. Joey Malone fired a shot that ricocheted Jech’s leg padding and to Eamonn Walsh, who scored the goal at 10:38 of the first period to finally break the scoreless deadlock.

Listen to post-game interview with St. Ignatius Student/Athlete Eamonn Walsh by clicking and downloading


The tourney hosts really picked it up in the second period, scoring three times to take a commanding 4-0 lead.

Listen to post-game interview with St. Ignatius Student/Athlete Beck Schultz by clicking and downloading


First it was Beck Schultz scoring at 1:49 off passes from Paul Zickes and Alex McNulty.

Then at 11:05 it was Spellacy getting into the act for the first time with assists coming from Andrew Steed and Mike Abood.

The game’s first penalty was finally called at 12:39 of the second period, putting Padua into the power-play, but it, in fact, turned to work out in Ignatius’ favor.

Colt Riemenschneider scored the short hand goal with a wrist shot from between the circles to make it 4-0 at 14:09 of the second stanza.

Spellacy scored again with a helper from Schultz at 8:21 of the third.

Zickes garnered his second assist of the morning at 12:17 of the third with his pass that led to a power-play goal by Zac Smockley.

Ignatius' seventh goal was a bit of a tongue twister, a Wiegandt-to-Wolf hook-up with Jack Wiegandt assisting and Taylor Wolf scoring.

Cleveland State, Lake Erie to meet tonight in 

all-Cleveland collegiate Student/Athletic battle

Game 11
Lake Erie (8-1) at Cleveland State (4-6)
Date: Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Site: Wolstein Center - Cleveland, Ohio
Series: Cleveland State leads, 2-0
Tickets: $8, General Admission // $5, Groups of 10 or more

The Vikings will return home to the Wolstein Center this week, as CSU is set to host Lake Erie College on Wednesday, December 28 at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday's contest will be the first home game for the Vikings since December 5 when CSU defeated Ohio, 66-56. Cleveland State enters the contest with a 4-6 mark after going 1-1 at the Magnolia Classic last week, while Lake Erie has posted an 8-1 record on the season, including a seven-game win streak to open the season. The 2011-12 season will mark the third straight year that the Vikings and Storm have faced off, with Cleveland State capturing victories in each of the first two contests.

With four starters returning for the 2011-12 season, the Cleveland State women’s basketball team is poised to have yet another successful season under ninth year head coach Kate Peterson Abiad. The starting lineup is centered around junior Shalonda Winton (12.3 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 2.7 apg), a preseason first team all-league pick. Winton will combine with the senior trio of Janelle Adams (6.0 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.7 apg), Destinee Blue (14.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Takima Keane (12.1 ppg, 2.9 apg) and junior Honesty King (10.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg) to form the backbone of the Viking roster. Peterson Abiad will have a deep bench to work with this season, as four additional letterwinners will be returning in junior Kaila Montgomery (1.2 ppg, 1.9 rpg) and sophomores Ondrea Hughes (1.8 ppg, 1.1 rpg), Brandee Kelly and Haley Schmitt (0.4 ppg). The CSU veterans will be joined by four freshmen, guards Cori Coleman (2.3 ppg, 1.3 rpg), Kiersten Green (2.3 ppg, 1.3 rpg) and Tess Zufall (1.0 ppg) and forward Imani Gordon (3.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg).

Honesty King recorded a career-high 20 points at Ole Miss last week, and became the third Viking to record a 20-point game this season. King's 20 points against the Rebels came after an 8-for-13 night from the field (.615), including a 4-for-7 mark from behind the arc (.571). King, who has 12 three-pointers on the season, has now posted at least four in a contest three times throughout her career. 

Takima Keane, who also posted 20 points at Ole Miss (Dec. 21), tied her career-high with the 20 point effort. Keane has now tallied 20 points three times throughout her career, including against Akron (Nov. 30) earlier this season. Against the Rebels, Keane was 6-for-12 from the field, including a 3-for-5 performance from three-point. 

After not playing any overtime contests last season, the Vikings have already played extra time twice throughout the first 10 games of the 2011-12 season after defeating Murray State, 68-61 in overtime at the Magnolia Classic (Dec. 20). Earlier this season the Vikings forced overtime at Western Michigan (Nov. 25) and came out on top, 72-66, to improve to 18-15 all-time in overtime contests.

Shalonda Winton, who was named the Viking of the Week for the period of Dec. 19-25, recorded her third double-double of the season against Murray State last week (Dec. 20), posting 19 points and 14 rebounds, both of which were team-highs. Winton now has 16 double-doubles on her career, and is the only Viking to notch one so far this season.

Winton continued her climb up the CSU all-time career rebounds list last week at the Magnolia Classic, combining for 17 rebounds over the two contests bringing her career total to 556 which ranks her 15th all-time. Winton needs 11 more rebounds to move into 14th place, which is held by Karyn Woloszynek (2000-04) who posted 566. Winton is also in the top-10 in defensive rebounds now with 363 (10th), while she is just 10 rebounds shy of making the top-10 in offensive rebounds (193).

Destinee Blue, who leads the Vikings with 142 points this season, has now posted double-digit points in six consecutive games after posting 19 against Murray State (Dec. 20) and 13 at Ole Miss (Dec. 21). Blue leads the Vikings and ranks second in the Horizon League with a .582 field goal percentage (53-91), while she also ranks sixth in scoring, averaging 14.2 points per contest.

Junior Shalonda Winton is closing in on 1,000 career points at Cleveland State, as she enters Wednesday's contest with 738. This season Winton is averaging 12.3 points per game, while she averaged 12.5 points per game as a sophomore and 6.1 as a freshman.

The Duo of Destinee Blue and Janelle Adams is closing in on the 600 point milestone for their careers, as Blue currently has 587 points and Adams has 592. On the year, Blue is averaging 14.2 points per contest, while Adams is averaging 6.0.

So far this season the Vikings have recorded 137 assists on 208 field goals, with the duo of Takima Keane and Shalonda Winton leading the way. As a team CSU ranks second in the Horizon League, averaging 13.7 assists per game, while Keane ranks ninth (2.9) and Winton ranks 13th (2.7).

With 10 blocked shots against Ohio (Dec. 5) earlier this season, the Vikings set a game-high among the Horizon League schools in the category this year. As a team, CSU ranks second overall averaging 3.8 blocks per game, while Shalonda Winton and Destinee Blue each rank in the top-10 individually in the category. Winton ranks fifth averaging 1.2 blocks per game and Blue is 10th averaging 0.9.

So far this season two Vikings are shooting 80-percent or better from the free-throw line, including Destinee Blue and Janelle Adams. Blue, who is exactly 80-percent from the line has gone 36-for-45, while Adams is shooting 92-percent (12-for-13). Among Horizon League players, Blue is tied for eighth while Adams' 13 attempts did not qualify for the rankings.

Cleveland State head coach Kate Peterson Abiad is in her ninth season at the helm of the Vikings, and ranks second on the all-time wins list at CSU. Peterson Abiad became the third coach in program history to record 100 career victories last season, and currently has 110, needing just six more to take over first place on the all-time wins list. Peterson Abiad has led the Vikings to four straight 19-win seasons, including a 21-12 record last year, the second most wins in program history.

Cleveland State was picked to finish second in the Horizon League Preseason Poll, receiving 238 points. The Vikings finished behind preseason favorite Green Bay, who received 29 first place votes and 299 points. Wright State (212 points), Butler (197) and UIC (186) rounded out the top five. Detroit was the only other team to collect a first place vote, as they finished seventh with 141 points behind Milwaukee who placed sixth with 177 points. The Titans were followed by Loyola (88), Valparaiso (64) and Youngstown State (48).

Junior Shalonda Winton was named to the 2011-12 Preseason All-Horizon League first team in voting conducted by the league’s 10 head coaches, sports information directors and select media. Last season Winton ranked sixth in the league in rebounding (9.1), seventh in blocks (0.8), ninth in field goal percentage (.462; 146-316) and 15th in scoring (12.5). She also became the fourth player in school history to grab at least 300 rebounds in a season, ending right on the number.

The Vikings are set to play six more games against teams that advanced to the postseason last year, including Green Bay who reached the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. Cleveland State's first contest against a team that reached the postseason came at Toledo (Dec. 10), as the Vikings fell to the 2011 WNIT champions, 81-42. CSU will now face Green Bay twice, as well as Butler who played in the WNIT and Wright State who played in the WBI.

This season marks the third annual CSU Hoops Luncheon Series, with Viking basketball fans having the opportunity to get monthly updates from CSU basketball head coaches Kate Peterson Abiad and Gary Waters throughout the 2011-12 season. The luncheon will take place beginning at 11:30 a.m. on the fifth floor Viking Loge of the Wolstein Center annex. The next luncheon will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 7, with the final luncheon to be held on Monday, Feb. 13. Reservations can be made by calling (216) 687-5454.

Cleveland State signed two student-athletes to National Letters of Intent on Nov. 16, as Jasmine Flanagan (Corona, Calif./Centennial) and Nafeshia Holifield (Milwaukee, Wis./Milwaukee Vincent) will join the Vikings for the 2012-13 season. Flanagan, a 5-foot-5 combo guard, comes to CSU after earning first team all-league honors as a sophomore and junior. The two-time Team MVP averaged 15.8 points, 4.3 assists, 1.9 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game as a junior, and set the Roosevelt High School record with 62 three-pointers made in a season. Holifield is a 6-foot power foward who averages 10.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. Milwaukee Vincent, which is the same high school as current Viking Destinee Blue, has won the state championship three times out of the past five years.

The Vikings will open Horizon League play on the road, as CSU will travel to Youngstown State for a 2:05 p.m. contest on Saturday, December 31. Saturday's contest will also begin a three-game road swing for the Vikings, as they will travel to Valparaiso and Butler the following weekend (Jan. 5-7) to continue league play. 



Gilmour staves off late rally by Canisius and is headed to championship game of St. Ignatius Christmas Tournament; four different boys score goals

BROOKLYN – Gilmour’s Varsity A hockey team staved off a late Canisius rally and held on for a 4-3 win Tuesday in the St. Ignatius Christmas tournament, setting up a two-game-in-17-hour affair with Padua.

A glitch in the scheduling put Gilmour in the championship game, thus, the Lancers were playing a round-robin game against the Bruins Tuesday night and will play them again in the All-Catholic tourney finals at noon today.

New York state rules allow its high school hockey teams to play only one game per day even when played in another state. Ohio rules favor the 24/7 inherent concept of the sport and thus teams play morning/evening doublets constantly, keeping the schedule makers unaware that a conflict could have been looming.

Canisius had to cancel its game with Ignatius Tuesday night and instead is playing the Wildcats in the “consolation” game this morning at 10.

Through Tuesday morning’s games, Ignatius was 2-0, Canisius 0-2, and Padua and Gilmour each 1-1.

Canisius started off and finished well but it was the meat of the game, the “in-between” that Gilmour got the most of it and thus came out the winner in this morning fest.

Note: This story could also be found at S/A-Cleveland's national electronic paper, S/A-Jesuit:


And By Clicking on the Dec. 28 A Page

Gilmour Coach John Malloy, who earned his 500th coaching victory on Nov. 25, said that this team has made some mistakes of youth, having its focus sidetracked and letting people get back into the game or it least hang around longer than necessary.

The same thing happened in the championship game of the Culver tournament. The Lancers had a 4-2 lead but squandered it and had to settle for second place.

Incidentally, Culver was in this tournament last year as was Northview but the two were replaced by Padua and Canisius this season.

While the goal-scoring was spread out evenly for Gilmour, all of it came from the same line and they Lancers are still yearning for getting more production from the younger forward lines.

The Crusaders took a 1-0 lead when Zach Remers scored at 11:33 of the first period with assists coming from Austin Arson and Patrick Mitchell.

After falling behind, Canisius made a late rally in the final two minutes of the game but came up just short as Gilmour took a deep breath and hung tough. Arson scored a power-play goal at 13:06 and Remers followed with an even-strength tally at 13:14.

Dimitrios Koulsomilis assisted on both late goals. Mitchell also garnered his second assist.

Gilmour, on the other hand, spread out things and skated evenly the rest of the way to keep the guests from the Empire state honest.

Listen to post-game interview with Gilmour Student/Athlete Benny Clark by clicking and downloading


Canisius’ only lead was short lived as Benny Clark made it 1-1 at 12:26 of the first period. John Tobbe and James Forsythe assisted.

The Lancers took their first lead on the Crusaders at 1:48 the second period when Tobbe took a pass from the tall, lanky Mason Schmidt and banged it home to make it 2-1.

Listen to post-game interview with Gilmour Student/Athlete John Tobbe by clicking and downloading


From there, the Lancers would dominate the rest of the period.

 Listen to post-game interview with Gilmour Student/Athlete Mason Schmidt by clicking and downloading


Schmidt scored a goal at 4:18 with an assist coming from Clark.

Closing out the scoring was Joey Lencewicz, who buried the puck at 12:35 of the middle period off passes from Schmidt and Clark.

Listen to post-game interview with Gilmour Student/Athlete Joey Lencewicz by clicking and downloading


Oliver Flesher played the whole game in the nets to earn the win for the Lancers.

Cleveland State men travel to Toledo tonight

Game 14
--/rv Cleveland State (11-2) at Toledo (7-4) 
Date: Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Time: 8:00 p.m. EST
Location: John F. Savage Arena (7,300) - Toledo, Ohio
Radio: WHKW 1220 AM (Cleveland) & WHKZ, 1440 AM (Warren) (Al Pawlowski) 
TV: None Live. Video stream available on utrockets.com (Paid)
Series: Toledo leads, 6-3
Last Mt'g: @CSU 87, UT 63 (2/20/10)
Tickets: Available at Site

SETTING THE SCENE: Cleveland State hits the road in its return from the brief holiday break when the Vikings play at Toledo on Wednesday (Dec. 28) at 8:00 p.m. The game is CSU's return contest at Toledo from the 2010 BracketBuster contest in which the Vikings defeated the Rockets, 87-63, in the Wolstein Center. CSU enters the game with an 11-2 mark, the second best start in program history, and is coming off a 63-45 win over Sam Houston State last Thursday (Dec. 22). Toledo is 7-4 overall and has lost two straight, including an 83-80 setback at Florida Gulf Coast on Thursday (Dec. 22). This will be the 10th all-time meeting between CSU and the Rockets with Toledo holding a 6-3 lead in the series. CSU has won the last two.

PREVIEWING THE VIKINGS: Sixth-year head coach Gary Waters is combining an experienced group of upperclassmen with one of the most talented freshman classes in school history as the Vikings set out to win a second straight Horizon League title. The strength of the team is at the guards where seniors Trey Harmon and Jeremy Montgomery return after starting all 36 games last season. They are joined in the backcourt by freshmen Sebastian Douglas and Charlie Lee. Senior D'Aundray Brown returns to the lineup after missing last season with a finger injury to man the small forward spot with freshmen Marlin Masonand Ike Nwamu ready to step in and provide minutes. Senior Aaron Pogue returns as the starting center with junior Tim Kamczyc back at the power forward slot. Sophomores Devon Long and Luda Ndaye and freshman Anton Grady add depth to the frontcourt.

IN THE POLLS: With an 11-2 mark to start the season, Cleveland State has received recognition in the national polls for the seventh straight week. After not receiving any votes in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll for the last two weeks, the Vikings earned two votes this week to check in at 38th overall (13th among Others Receiving Votes). CSU did not receive any votes in this week's Associated Press Top-25 after earning votes for the previous six weeks.

VIKINGS DROP TO #5 IN MID-MAJOR POLL: Cleveland State slid one spot to No. 5 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid Major Top 25 poll that was released on Monday (Dec. 26) afternoon. The Vikings received 623 vote, down from 670 last week. Creighton remained in the No. 1 spot with 25 first place votes and 749 points and was followed by Murray State (740 points, 6 first place vote), Harvard (698), Iona (671) and Cleveland State to round out the top five. Last season, CSU began the season ranked 25th in the poll before working its way up to the No. 1 ranking on Dec. 6 where CSU stayed for five weeks.

STRONG DEFENSIVE PLAY CONTINUES: Strong defense has always been a staple at CSU under head coach Gary Waters and this year has been no different. CSU enters the week ranked first in the Horizon League in scoring defense (57.3) steals (9.5) and turnover margin (+4.6), second in three-point field goal defense (.263) and third in field goal defense (.424). The Vikings have held nine of their 13 opponents to under 45-percent shooting from the field.

50 OR LESS: Thursday's 63-45 win over Sam Houston State was the third time the Vikings have held a team under 50 points this year with the Bearkats joining Rhode Island (45) and Wright State (43). The 1933-34, 1935-36 and 2008-09 squads share the school record by holding 11 of their opponents to 50 points or less. CSU leads the league and is ranked 24th in the nation in scoring defense (57.3).

A TURNOVER TALE: One area where the Vikings have been dominant this year is the turnover battle where CSU leads the Horizon League and ranks 15th in the nation with a +4.6 turnover margin. While CSU's turnovers are up from last year to 14.8 per game (CSU averaged 11.4 last year), the Vikings are turning teams over an average of 19.4 per game (14.7 last year), with opponents committing at least 20 turnovers in six games this year.

FIVE OR LESS: The Vikings are a perfect 7-0 in games decided by five points or less and have won four games on its final offensive possession this season. They include... • Trey Harmon hits a three-pointer with 2.8 seconds left in a 67-64 win over St. Bonaventure (Nov. 18).
• Jeremy Montgomery steals the inbounds pass and hits two free throws with 3.4 seconds to play in a 63-62 victory over Boston University (Nov. 25).
• D'Aundray Brown tips in a missed shot with 0.3 seconds left in a 45-43 win at Wright State (Dec. 1).
• Jeremy Montgomery hits a three-pointer with 21.2 seconds left to give the Vikings a 69-66 win over Akron.

WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU?: Quite frankly, he can play defense. A member of the 2010 Horizon League All-Defense team, Brown has quickly shown that he is one of the top defensive players in the country, ranking first in the league and fifth in the nation in steals (2.8 spg; 36 total). A deeper look into Brown's defensive efforts shows that he has shut down the top scorers on several teams this year, including the following... PPG at PLAYER (SCHOOL) FG -FGA Points Time of Game Carlton Guyton (Kent State) 3 -9 8 12.0
Mike Moore (Hofstra) 2 -7 5 20.5
Jamal Wilson (Rhode Island) 4 -8 8 19.8
Chase Simon (Detroit) 2 -5 6 17.6

GRADY NEARS DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Anton Grady came close to a double-double at South Florida (Dec. 19), with 10 points and nine rebounds. It was the second time this season that Grady came up one rebound shy of a double-double. He had 14 points and nine boards in a win over Boston University (Nov. 25).

FUTURE CSU HOOPS LUNCHEONS: The second of four CSU Hoops Luncheons took place on Dec. 14 with Viking basketball fans having the opportunity to get updates from CSU basketball head coachesGary Waters and Kate Peterson Abiad. Hosted by Munch Bishop of WKNR, the luncheons begin at 11:30 a.m. on the fifth floor Viking Loge of the Wolstein Center. Future luncheons will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 14, Tuesday, Jan. 17 and Monday, Feb. 13. Cost of admission is $12 with a reservation or $15 at the door and includes a buffet luncheon and beverages. Tables for eight can also be reserved for $80.00. Reservations can be made by calling (216) 687-5119.

ROAD WARRIORS: The Vikings have been proving their mettle away from home this season as CSU has played nine of their 13 games away from the Wolstein Center, posting a 7-2 record in those contests. CSU is 6-1 in road games and 1-1 in neutral site contests. With at least eight more road games this year, CSU has a chance to break the school-record of 13 road wins in a season, set in 2008-09.

NCAA STATS: Cleveland State is well represented in the latest NCAA statistical report that was released on Monday (Dec. 19). As a team, CSU was eighth in the nation in three-point defense (.254), 11th in steals (10.0), 15th in turnover margin (4.7) and 24th in scoring defense (57.3). Individually, D'Aundray Brown is fifth in steals (3.1).

J-MO KEEPS PLAYING: When Jeremy Montgomery takes the floor on Wednesday, he will be playing in his 120th straight game at CSU, moving into a tie for fifth place on the all-time list at CSU. Montgomery, who has never missed a game in his career, is slated to make his 69th straight start. With a minimum of 19 games left this season, Montgomery has a chance to break Norris Cole's school-record of 139 straigh games played.

HARMON NETS 1,000th POINT: Trey Harmon became the 20th player in CSU history to score 1,000 career points when he finished with five points at Wright State. He ranks 18th on the all-time list at CSU with 1,068 points. ... AND BROWN CLOSING IN: D'Aundray Brown also has the 1,000 point mark in sights. He enters Wednesday's contest with 777 career points.

MONTGOMERY ALREADY THERE: With his six points against Rio Grande (Nov. 15), Jeremy Montgomery became the 19th player in school history to score 1,000 career points. Montgomery, who has 1,107 career points, ranks 17th on the all-time scoring list at CSU. The Vikings have never had three players reach 1,000 career points in the same season.

BROWN MOVES INTO 9TH ON STEALS LIST: With two steals at South Florida (Dec. 19), D'Aundray Brown moved into ninth place on the all-time steals list at CSU with 179. He is now 21 steals shy of moving into a tie for eighth place. Brown leads the Horizon League and is ranked fifth in the nation with 2.8 steals per game, making at least two steals 11 of the 13 games this season.

A NORTHEAST OHIO SWEEP: With a Dec. 10 win over Akron and a win at Kent State on Nov. 22, the Vikings have swept the season series against its two Northeast Ohio rivals for the second straight season. This year marked the 32nd time that CSU played both teams in the same year and the fifth time that the Vikings swept all of the games. CSU claimed single games against both teams in 1987-88, 1997-98 and 2010-11, and went 3-0 in 1977-78, 1980-81 and 1985-86, winning twice against Akron in both 1977-78 and 1980-81.

FINISHING IT IN REGULATION: Thursday's game against Sam Houston State extended CSU's school-record streak of consecutive games without an overtime contest to 149. The last time CSU played an overtime tilt came on Nov. 17, 2007 when the Vikings topped Florida State, 69-66, at the Glenn Wilkes Classic in Daytona Beach, Fla. CSU is 99-50 since.

TRIFECTA DUO: The duo of seniors Jeremy Montgomery and Trey Harmon continue to work their way up the three-point field goals made chart at Cleveland State. Montgomery is tied for third in school history with 170 three-pointers, just two shy of taking over sole possession of second place, while Harmon is sixth with 162 makes.

SUCCESS 601: The sixth edition of Success Class under Gary Waters is utilizing the book Think Like a Champion by Dave Dinunzio as the course text. Instituted at CSU in the summer of 2006, Waters uses Success Class to teach the Viking players the finer points of what it takes to succeed, both on the basketball court and in life. Success Class 101 used John Wooden's book, The Pyramid of Success. Waters relied on John Maxwell's book Talent Is Never Enough in 2007-08 and turned to former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy's book, Quiet Strength in 2008-09. Waters returned to Maxwell in 2009-10, using 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player as the course text and again in 2009-10, using Maxwell's Winning With People. The non-credited class is taught weekly by Waters to the Viking players.

FREE THROWS: One area CSU struggled over the first three games was free throws as the Vikings hit just 37-of-61 (.607) from the charity stripe. However, since that time, the Vikings have gone 105-of-134 (.784) over the last 10 games to raise the season free throw percentage to .728 (142-195), ranking second in the league.

... AND HITTING IN CRUNCH TIME: The Vikings have been hitting free throws down the stretch, connecting on 36-of-46 (.782) in the final five minutes of games this year.

VIKINGS LIKE EXEMPTED TOURNEYS: The Ticket City Legends Classic was the sixth exempted tournament that Cleveland State has played in under head coach Gary Waters, with the Vikings sporting a 16-7 record in those games. CSU went 1-2 at the America's Youth Classic (Evansville, Ind.) in 2006-07, defeating ACC member Miami (Fla.), 78-67, for its lone win. In 2007-08, the Vikings played in the Glenn Wilkes Classic, going 3-1 with wins over teams from the Big East (73-70 over USF) and ACC (69-66 over Florida State). In 2008-09, the Vikings rebounded from an opening round loss to Washington to claim the Miami Regional title of the CBE Classic. Two years ago, CSU won two games at home as part of the Cancun Challenge before falling to Kentucky and Virginia in Cancun. Last season, the Vikings won four games at home to claim the World Vision Classic. This year, CSU defeated Vanderbilt to open the Ticket City Legends Classic and won two of three games at Rhode Island to win the Kingston subregional title.

THIS `N THAT: Some quick notes from the first six weeks of the season.

• Trey Harmon was selected to the preseason All-Horizon League first team, while CSU was tabbed to finish third in the preseason poll.
• CSU's win at No. 7 Vanderbilt on Nov. 11 was the highest ranked opponent the Vikings have defeated in program history. It was the sixth top-25 team that CSU has defeated in program history with five of the wins under Gary Waters.
• The Vikings blocked 11 shots in a win over Rio Grande (Nov. 15), one shy of equaling the school record for most blocks in a game.
• Anton Grady blocked six shots against Rio Grande, one shy of tying the CSU single game record of seven held by three players and the most by a CSU freshman in a game.
• Luda Ndaye picked up his first career start against Rio Grande (Nov. 15) and tied his career-highs in both points (7) and rebounds (7).
• Jeremy Montgomery dished out a career-high tying eight assists in a win at Rhode Island (Nov. 27). Charlie Lee added a career-high four assists in a setback at South Florida (Dec. 19).
• Freshman Anton Grady is the nephew of NBA player Earl Boykins. Both played their high school basketball at Cleveland Central Catholic, while Boykins was a standout at Eastern Michigan when CSU head coach Gary Waters was an assistant coach.
• CSU went 6-1 in November this year and is a combined 14-1 during the last two November's.
• The Vikings are off to a 4-1 start in December this year, improving their record to 10-2 over the last two December's. Including Thursday's game against Sam Houston State, CSU will play three more games this month.
• The trio of associate head coach Jayson Gee and assistant coaches Larry DeSimpelare and Jeremaine Kimbrough are in their sixth year serving for head coach Gary Waters on the Viking bench. Only the tandem of Mitch Buonaguro and Paul Molinari (1996-03) served longer as a unit. 
• This is the 20th season of CSU playing in the Wolstein Center with the Vikings going 158-105, including winning records in nine of the last 13 years.

UP NEXT: Cleveland State returns to Horizon League play on Saturday (Dec. 31) when the Vikings host Youngstown State at 2:00 p.m. in a New Year's Eve matinee.



Providence at Akron, 7:00 PM

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Akron plays the first of three straight home games on Wednesday when Providence comes to Rhodes Arena. The game begins at 7:00 p.m. Akron dropped a back-and-forth battle at Robert Morris, 85-78, a week ago Wednesday. Junior Taylor Ruper scored a season-high 21 points on seven 3-pointers. Jasmine Mushington (15p) and Carly Young (13p) also found double-figures for Akron. Taylor Ruper's seven made three-pointers at Robert Morris was one off her school record of eight, which she set against Ball State on Feb. 12, 2011. As a team, UA sunk 12 longballs in the RMU game - one off the school record set at Central Michigan on Feb. 21, 2005. The Zips lead the MAC in scoring offense, field goal percentage, free-throw percentage, and assists, while ranking second in 3-point field goal percentage and assist/turnover ratio. Rachel Tecca and Sina King are second and third in the league in field goal percentage, respectively. Senior Natasha Williams leads the conference in assist/turnover ratio (2.0). Taylor Ruper leads the league in 3-pointers made per game (2.9). The Friars are 6-6 in 2011-12, most recently downing Clemson at home, 73-63, on Dec. 22. Providence is 0-1 in Big East play, having lost to Villanova back on Dec. 7. Teya Wright leads the Friar offensive attack at 15.3 points per game, while also pulling in 10.7 rebounds per contest. Rachel Barnes (11.6 ppg) also scores in double-digits for PC. The Friars score just 57.3 points per game, but allow just 57.3 points per game defensively.


Chicago St. at Miami, 7:00 PM 

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Miami returns to action looking for its fifth straight win as it hosts Chicago State on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Millett Hall. Courtney Osborn currently has 1,221 career points to rank 12th on the Miami career list. She has shot up the all-time list during the first 10 games of the season, starting the year in 18th place. Junior forward Kirsten Olowinski looks to continue her record setting rebounding performance from last season. Her average of 11.1 rebounds per game as a sophomore in 2010-11 was the highest single-season average in school history. Her 332 total rebounds was the second-highest single-season total. She currently leads Miami with an average of 9.03 rebounds per game this season. Chicago State is 1-12 on the year. Chicago State is led by senior guard Janay Dockery. She averages 16.9 points per game. The Cougars do struggle offensively as a team though, averaging only 49.1 points per game through 13 contests.


Hampton vs. Central Michigan, 8:00 PM

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The Central Michigan women's basketball team is currently riding a five-game win streak, the longest since the 2006-07 season. They went 3-0 at the Wright State Invitational knocking off Southeast Missouri State, 100-59, Longwood, 70-59, and Wright State, 65-60. The Chippewas have never faced the three teams in the Tulane Holiday Tournament. Three freshmen are leading CMU's offense - Crystal Bradford, Jas'Mine Bracey and Jessica Green. Bradford has posted four double-doubles against PITT, South Florida, Ole Miss, and Wright State. She is currently averaging 14.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per contest. She has also scored in double figures in every game this season. Bradford is the eighth best freshman scorer in the country. She ranks fifth among freshman in her field goal percentage (42.4) and is ninth in blocked shots per game (1.7) Bracey, who is second on the team in scoring, is averaging 11.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. She has scored 20 or more points twice this season. Currently she is also the ninth best blocker among freshman and is the ninth best freshman in the country in rebounds per game. Green is third on the team in scoring averaging 10.3 points and 2.5 assists a game. The first challenge for the Maroon and Gold will be Hampton who is coming off a 71-63 win over Boston College. Before that win they were on a five-game win streak that was snapped with a loss to UAB. Chicetta McMillian is leading the offense with her 16.4 points a game average and is shooting 41.5 percent from the floor. Melanie Warner cleans the boards with her 7.2 average.