D'Aundray Brown missed the entire 2010-11 season with a hand injury, but during that redshirt season he spent a lot of time working on his left hand and his mid-range jumper.
The hard work is starting to pay off as Brown set a new career-high in points for the second straight game, leading the Vikings with 24 points in Cleveland State's 86-57 victory over Rio Grande, an NAIA school located in southern Ohio.
Brown, the Horizon League Player of the Week, also added nine rebounds and seven steals against Rio Grande.
In CSU's 71-58 upset of then-No. 7 Vanderbilt on Sunday, Brown led the Vikings with 17 points. Brown came into the season with a career scoring average of 6.9 points per game and is averaging 21 points per game through two games.
He's also averaging 8.5 rebounds and seven steals a game.
"D'Aundray has put in some time. When you put in the time, you get results," said CSU head coach Gary Waters.
He's shooting 17-of-26 (65.4 percent) from the field through his first two games
"Sitting out that whole year made me hungry to get back out there," said Brown, who went 11-of-16 from the field and two-of-three from the line. "Coach Waters told me to work (on my shot) all summer, and I was in the gym taking extra shots, and it seems to be paying off."
The Vikings (2-0) played without starting center Aaron Pogue (lightheaded) and freshmen guard Ike Nwamu (concussion). Both are questionable for Friday's home game against St. Bonaventure.
CSU's constant pressure turned out to be too much for the Red Storm (4-2) to handle. They caused the Red Storm to turn it over 28 times, which CSU turned into 35 points.
"That's who we are. We go after the ball," said Waters. "We feel if we can get 20 turnovers we're going to (win many games). We're trying to force people into areas and I think it's really our identity, too."
With the game tied at 17-17 with 9:27 left in the first half, CSU used a 23-10 run to take a 40-27 lead into the half. Then they started the second half on a 13-6 run to increase the lead to 20-points (53-33) and never looked back.
CSU also had strong games from Trevon Harmon (14 points), Tim Kamczyc (13) and Anton Grady (12).
The Vikings host St. Bonaventure on Friday. The Bonnies (1-0) were picked to finish fourth in the Atlantic 10.
"That's a big-time team," said Waters. "Their center (Andrew Nicholson) is a pro and will probably be a first-round draft pick. He led the Atlantic 10 in scoring the past two years. So we have to do something to offset him, or he can go for 30 or 40 points."
Photo courtesy of Cleveland State Athletics.
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