CLEVELAND - The Cleveland State men's basketball team ended the 2010 year with a win easily defeating Loyola-Chicago, 73-55, Thursday night at the Wolstein Center.
With the win CSU improves to 14-1, 3-0 in the Horizon League. The Vikes join Syracuse as the only other 14-game winner in the country.
"I thought our guys played extremely hard on the defensive end today and I thought they really shared the basketball," said CSU head coach Gary Waters. "Those are the kind of things you have to do to have a good team."
Loyola (9-5, 0-3 HL) took an early 5-0 lead, but after that is was all CSU. The Vikes would score on 13 of their next 14 possessions to take a 13-6 lead with 11:48 left in the first half. CSU would lead by as many as 18 in the first half and had a comfortable 41-24 lead at the half.
It was on cruise control after that as the Vikes never trailed by less than 14 in the second half.
CSU's stingy pressure defense played a key roll in the victory. The Vikings caused the Ramblers to turn the ball over 18 times, which CSU had a 28-12 advantage in points of turnovers.
"Points off turnovers is obviously the big stat," said Loyola head coach Jim Whitesell. "We didn't handle their pressure well and they kept coming after us. We just had a hard time handling the basketball."
Offensively, CSU started getting into a groove after they stopped relying on jumpers and started attacking the basket. The Vikings held a 46-24 advantage in points in the paint. Loyola had no answers for stopping Aaron Pogue or Devon Long on the block.
Pogue had his second career double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds on 8-for-11 from the field. Long scored six points in 10 minutes off the bench.
"I feel there are not many players that can guard me one-on-one," said Pogue. "I feel I can destroy any man one-on-one."
The Vikes had strong efforts from Trevon Harmon (14 points) and Jeremy Montgomery (12). Norris Cole, who was nursing a stinger in his shoulder, scored only 12 points, well under his 21.5 scoring average. Cole also contributed six assists, five rebounds and three steals.
The Ramblers didn't have any players in double-figures and were led in scoring by Walt Gibler and Courtney Stanley, who each scored nine points a piece.
CSU host Illinois-Chicago (5-9, 0-2) on Saturday. The Flames lost on the road tonight at Youngstown State, 71-69.