Cleveland State played like they were in midseason form in their 92-49 route of Grambling State Friday night at the Wolstein Center.
On Monday, CSU head coach Gary Waters said the only way this young team was going to win was with a total team effort and not just one guy trying to do it by himself.
The Vikings (1-0) got a total team effort on Friday as six Vikings finished in double-figures, led by sophomore point guard Charlie Lee with a career-high 20 points on 7-of-10 from the field.
"We want Charlie to shoot the ball and go out there and be free," said Waters.
Other Vikings in double-figures included sophomore forward Anton Grady (14 points, 9 rebounds), freshman guard Bryn Forbes (14 points), senior forward Tim Kamczyc (12 points, six rebounds), sophomore forward Marlin Mason (10 points, five rebounds) and redshirt sophomore guard Sebastian Douglas (10 points).
CSU also had 23 assists on their 34 field goals made.
"We are trying to get better each and every game," said Waters.
After giving up 70 points to Division II Malone Tuesday night in an exhibition game, CSU got their defensive swag back holding Grambling to only 12 field goals and 49 points. They also had 13 steals which led to several easy lay-ups in transition and a 18-7 advantage in points off turnovers.
"It all starts with our defense," said Lee.
Lee had his best game as a Viking, as he controlled the tempo of the game on both sides of the court with his playmaking ability on offense (seven assists, one turnover) and his intense defensive pressure on Grambling's point guard.
"I'm the leader of the team," said Lee. "It started with me I had to pressure the point guard then everybody else just bought in and kept up the pressure. (On offense) we were able to make shots today. It started off with me again. I was able to make a couple of shots early and then we got things going and started getting out in transition."
The Vikings scored the first seven points and never looked back.
They took a 29-9 lead on Mason's lay-up and took a 43-17 advantage at the half as Lee sank a mid-range jumper to beat the buzzer.
CSU put the exclamation point on the game when Lee found Mason for an alley-opp to extend it to 60-24.
Freshmen guard Terry Rose led Grambling (0-1) with 16 points.
The Vikings face Bowling Green State on Monday in Ann Arbor, Mich. as part of the NIT Season Tip-Off.