CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland State had five players in double figures and head coach Gary Waters tied the CSU record for career wins by a coach as the Vikings defeated Valparaiso, 69-50, on Saturday afternoon in the Wolstein Center.
Waters, who won for the 149th time at CSU, tied Ray Dieringer for the most wins by a CSU head coach. It was Waters' 320th career victory.
CSU improved to 13-9 overall and 5-3 in the Horizon League, moving within a half-game of second place Wright State. The Raiders play at Youngstown State tonight.
Valparaiso fell to 12-9 overall and 4-3 in the league.
Anton Grady paced the Vikings with his fourth double-double of the season and the eighth of his career with 13 points and 11 rebounds. It was his third double-double in the six Horizon League games he has played.
Trey Lewis led all scorers with 17 points, adding four assists, while Marlin Mason added 12 points and three blocked shots. Bryn Forbes scored 12 points and Jon Harris tallied 11 points, the 11th time CSU's sixth man reached double figures this year.
Alec Peters and LaVonte Dority scored 10 points each for the Crusaders.
The Crusaders hit four of their first seven shots from the field to build an early 10-5 lead five minutes in. However, the Viking defense clamped down, holding Valparaiso to just 1-of-17 from the field for the rest of the half in building a 31-20 lead at intermission.
CSU took its first lead of the game at the 13:20 mark of the first half on a Harris three-pointer. It was part of a 20-3 run that helped the Vikings open up a 12 point lead (25-13) when Harris threw down an alley-oop from Charlie Lee with 7:38 to play.
The first half lead reached as many as 13 points (29-16) on a Lewis layup with 5:13 to play in the half.
The Vikings held Valpo to 5-of-24 (.208) shooting from the field in the opening half and outscored the Crusaders in the paint, 12-0.
Forbes and Grady scored buckets to open the second half and push the CSU lead to 17 points (37-20) and the Crusaders would get no closer than 13 points the rest of the afternoon as CSU's lead swelled to as many as 22 points late in the game.
CSU shot .455 (25-55) from the field, while holding the Crusaders to a 16-of-45 (.356) effort. The Vikings committed just eight turnovers, while forcing Valpo into 16 miscues.
The Vikings are back in action on Tuesday (Jan. 28) when CSU plays its final nonconference game of the season at 8:00 p.m. EST at Eastern Illinois.