Behind two strong offensive efforts, Cleveland State men’s basketball dominates both exhibition matches
The Cleveland State University men’s basketball team finally hung their banner up at the Wolstein Center to honor their run to the 2021 NCAA Tournament before playing Otterbein in an exhibition match on Nov. 5.
After the pregame festivities, the Vikings dismantled Otterbein 74-33 in their final tune-up match before their regular season begins on Nov. 9 against BYU.
This came just a week after the Vikings tore apart Case Western Reserve with a 100-56 win back on Oct. 30. The game was close until the second half, where CSU came alive with five Vikings scoring in double figures by the end of the game.
It was a strong offensive showing for the Vikings, with 16 of the 19 guys on the roster taking the court against Otterbein. Even more impressive, 15 of those 16 got into the scoring column leading to a well-balanced attack.
The Vikings held the lead throughout the entire game, including a game-high 45 point lead near the end of the game.
After winning the Horizon League and making a trip to March Madness last season, Cleveland State begins their 2021-22 season with high expectations.
Luckily for the Vikings, their unit carries plenty of experience. Senior Torrey Patton returns for his senior season after averaging 14.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game last year, all of which were career highs. Patton also earned All-League First Team honors in the Horizon League, becoming only the seventh Viking to do so.
Cleveland State will also see the return of Senior Tre Gomillion, who averaged 10.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game last season. Gomillion was the Horizon League defensive player of the year for the 2020-21 season.
With key players from last season’s run returning, Vikings head coach Dennis Gates believes that the cohesiveness of his team will prove beneficial.
“Camaraderie is key in this era of the transfer portal,” Gates said. “It’s important to have continuity. It’s important to have upper-classmen in your program, guys that can teach the newcomers. That allows our standards, our culture on and off the court here at Cleveland State to be passed down.”
The Vikings look to have a powerful defense during the upcoming season, and in that area, they will be led by Gomillion. Gates acknowledged the impact that Gomillion makes for the Vikings.
“(Gomillion) was a one-time defensive player of the year,” Gates said. “You’re talking about a guy who has always been counted out, a guy who plays the game of basketball with a chip on his shoulder, he’s a tough player.”
The Vikings begin their season on Nov. 9 when they travel to BYU. Then, Cleveland State will return to the Wolstein Center on Nov. 13 to host Ohio University.