Mar 09, 2021
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Cleveland State Vikings are going dancing.
The Vikes punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament with an automatic bid for the first time since 2009 with an 80-69 win over Oakland in the #HLMBB Championship Game on Tuesday night in Indianapolis.
Cleveland State will make its third-ever March Madness appearance largely thanks to concurrent double-doubles by Tre Gomillion and Torrey Patton for the second time in the last three games. For Patton, it marks his fourth straight double-double and seventh overall.
Cleveland State came out attacking the paint and pushing the pace in transition, shooting 17-25 on two-point field goals in the first half while outscoring the Golden Grizzlies 12-0 on fast breaks. The Vikings also held a dominant 36-10 edge in the paint over the first 20 minutes.
After falling behind 10-5 early, the Vikings retook the lead on a transition layup by Gomillion with 13:32 left.
Similar to the #HLMBB Semifinal against Milwaukee on Monday night, Patton and Gomillion started hot, combining for 10 of the first 12 points for Cleveland State.
The Vikings ended the half on a 17-8 run to take a 40-28 edge at the intermission. Of the 10 Vikings who saw the floor, eight scored at least once, including a team-high nine points from Patton.
Gomillion found the opening points of the second half on a transition layup. Later, Patton canned a pair of free throws for a 16-point, the Vikings’ largest of the night, with 13:45 remaining.
Oakland drew back within single digits at 51-42 on a second-chance corner three by Micah Parish midway through the second half. Back-to-back buckets by Gomillion paired with a steal-and-score from Patton halted the Golden Grizzlies’ momentum and provided a 57-42 cushion with 8:14 on the clock.
Oakland refused to go quietly, though, draining a triple with just over four minutes to go to cut it to 66-58. A straight-on three-pointer from Beaudion with 2:53 to play put Cleveland State up by 13 and iced the win.
Patton, who has played the role of closer throughout the #REACHtheHORIZON Tournament, scored nine of 12 points for Cleveland State within a stretch during the final five minutes before D’Moi Hodge finished twice at the rim within the last minute of play for an 80-69 final.
Patton finished with a game-high 23 points on 9-16 shooting while grabbing 10 boards. The All-Horizon League First Team member chipped in 14 points in the second half. Overall, Hodge poured in 15 points while Beaudion contributed 11 while dishing out five assists.
Gomillion added 16 points and dominated on the glass, hauling in 13 rebounds, nearly one-third of Cleveland State’s 39 boards on the night.
The Vikings made only three triples but finished with a commanding 64-18 advantage in the paint en route to their second-ever Horizon League Tournament title.
Cleveland State recorded seven blocks, their second-most rejections in a game this season. Hodge led the way with three denials.
The Vikings will await the results of Selection Sunday at 6 p.m. on March 14 to determine their seeding and first-round NCAA Tournament matchup.
NCAA TOURNAMENT TICKETS
The NCAA announced that limited attendance will be permitted at the various tournament sites in Indiana. Cleveland State fans who wish to attend Viking games during the tournament may place a ticket request by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 15 at www.csuvikings.com/ncaatickets or by calling the ticket office at 216-687-4848.
COURTESY CLEVELAND STATE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS