CLEVELAND, Ohio - Jeremy Montgomery led four Cleveland State players in double figures and the Vikings scored 16 of the first 18 points of the game in cruising to a 73-56 win over UIC in Horizon League action on Thursday night in the Wolstein Center.
The Vikings improved to 13-3 overall and 3-1 in the Horizon League, while the Flames fell to 5-10 overall and 1-4 in league play.
"We needed to come out and do what we are capable of doing and we did that tonight," head coach Gary Waters said. "UIC is a good team and has played a lot of close games in the league this season, but we were able to get out quickly and jump on them. Every time you lose a game like we did our last time out, a little doubt creeps in and we had to erase that doubt."
Montgomery hit 4-of-6 from three-point and is now 16-of-26 from long range over the last four games.
He helped the Vikings hit a season-high 11 three-pointers as CSU shot .550 (11-20) from behind the arc tonight.
Tonight's game was also a coming out party for freshmen Charlie Lee and Marlin Mason.
Lee made his first career start at point guard when Trey Harmon couldn't go due to a concussion suffered on Saturday. He played 33 minutes, scoring 13 points with five assists, three steals, two rebounds, but most importantly, Lee didn't commit a turnover.
"Charlie pushed the ball, penetrated some, hit some shots and got his teammates involved," Waters said. "Put those together and good things come out. I thought he did a great job guarding their point guard. That's a kid who averages 18 points per game in the league and he held him to six tonight. He did a great job defensively."
And then there's Mason. Slated to redshirt this yaer, Waters decided take the redshirt off Mason yesterday when it was learned that Sebastian Douglas would miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.
Mason saw his first collegiate action, playing 14 minutes and totaling five points and three rebounds.
"The only reason Marlin was redshirting was because he had never played the small forward spot," Waters said. "He's a young kid who just turned 18, but because of circumstances, we had to make adjustments. He's a big three who can play the four."
Coming off a loss to Youngstown State on Saturday afternoon and down a starter and key reserve didn't deter the Vikings early as they scored 16 of the first 18 points to take a 16-2 lead just six minutes into the game.
Lee got things going with the first bucket of the game and after Hayden Humes tied it at 2-2 with a basket, the Vikings ran off the next 14 points. Brown, Montgomery and Lee all had three-pointers in the run, while Kamczyc has two baskets.
UIC answered with six straight points to cut the CSU lead down to eight points (16-8) at the 10:54 mark, but a Brown jumper and two three-pointers from Montgomery and one by Mason sparked a 13-0 Viking run that put CSU up 29-8 with 6:28 left in the first half.
The Vikings led at the half, 35-18, thanks in large part to 50-percent shooting (13-26) from the field, including 8-of-13 (.615) from three-point. CSU also forced 12 first half turnovers by UIC, converting them into 12 points.
The second half was much of the same as the Viking lead swelled to as many as 27 points (62-35) when Brown made a layup with 5:16 left.
The Vikings shot .459 (28-61) from the field and handed out 17 assists. They also made 10 steals and blocked eight shots.
UIC managed just .304 (17-56) shooting from the field, but did hold a 40-37 advantage on the glass, grabbing 20 offensive boards.
The Vikings conclude their three game homestand when CSU hosts Loyola at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 7) in the Horizon League Game of the Week. The game will be broadcast live on SportsTime Ohio.
Senior Guard D'Aundray Brown
• Scored 13 points, adding five rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots.
• Hit 5-of-12 from the field.
• Raised his career scoring total to 833 points.
Senior Guard Jeremy Montgomery
• Reached double figures for the fourth straight game, finishing with 14 points.
• Was 4-of-6 from three-point.
• Is now 16-for-26 from three-point over the last four contests.
Freshman Guard Charlie Lee
• After coming off the bench for the first 15 games, made his first career start with CSU shorthanded in the backcourt.
• Scored the first basket of the game, finishing with a career-high 13 points.
• Added five assists, three steals and did not have a turnover in 33 minutes.
Freshman Guard/Forward Marlin Mason
• Made his CSU debut after sitting out the first 15 games of the year, playing 14 minutes.
• Knocked down his first career shot, a three-pointer from the left corner.
• Finished with five points and three rebounds.
Freshman Forward Anton Grady
• Scored career-high 13 points with seven rebounds.
• Went 5-of-7 from the floor, hitting both of his three-point attempts. They were his first two makes from three-point this year. He is now 2-for-5 this season.
• Today was the 70th all-time meeting between the two schools, making it the second most-often played series in school history, trailing only Youngstown State.
• CSU has now won nine straight in the series and 11 of the last 12 and leads the series, 38-32.
• The Vikings took a 35-18 lead at the half, shooting 13-of-26 (.500) from the field, including 8-of-13 (.615) from three-point over the first 20 minutes.
• The Vikings made a season-high 11 three-pointers, going 11-of-20 from three-point.
• CSU forced 12 first half turnovers by the Flames and 15 for the game.
• The score was tied just one time tonight at 2-2. The Vikings ran off the next 14 points to take a 16-2 lead six minutes in and the Flames never got their deficit under double figures the rest of the night.
• The Vikings held UIC to just .304 (17-56) shooting from the field.
• CSU was without two players tonight, including starting guard Trey Harmon who sat out with a concussion. Freshman guard Sebastian Douglas also missed the contest and will be out the remainder of the season after re-injuring the ACL in his left knee.