CLEVELAND - A fast start at home proved to be enough for Cleveland State, which grabbed a 74-62 win over visiting Detroit behind 21 points from Bryn Forbes who also paced the Vikings with eight rebounds in front of 4,101 at the Wolstein Center.
"I don't know how," Forbes said of his eight rebounds that were key in the Vikings holding off the Titans, who came to Cleveland as unbeaten co-leaders of the Horizon League. "The guy I was guarding was 6-6 so I guess it was my blocking out," added the freshman from East Lansing, Mich., who played against a number of Titans in high school.
"I played a few of them," he explained. "Ray McCallum (Jr.) scored 28 against us in the first half of the state championship game," he remembered.
Forbes got 19 of his 21 points in the first half, when the Vikings, who led wire to wire, took a 43-35 lead to the locker room.
The Viking freshman guard got there with 5-of-6 from behind the 3-point line including one in the final seconds to close out the first 20 minutes and hand CSU its 8-point advantage that never evaporated.
"We came up against a very hungry team," said Titan coach Ray McCallum Sr. "And our guard play was not very good. That hurt us. Cleveland State came out fast and Forbes set the tone. We have to get back to business with our next three at home."
The Titans got 22 points from Ray McCallum Jr., but he could have had a much better day, hitting just 4-of-11 from the foul line. As a team, the Titans had a tough day from the stripe, going just 13-for 32. Detroit, which averages 79 points a game, also got 16 from Nick Minnerath, but had no others in double figures.
Detroit, 11-6 overall, also had trouble behind the 3-point line, going 3-for-18 for the game and 0-for-7 after intermission. All Detroit's nine second-half field goals were either dunks or lay ups.
Cleveland State, 10-8 with the win, is off to its annual 2-game swing to Wisconsin to face Milwaukee on Thursday and Green Bay on Saturday. The Vikings got back to even at 2-2 in the league with the win over the Titans.
"We have played the top four teams in the league and came out 2-2," said CSU coach Gary Waters, who got 15 points from senior Tim Kamczyc and another 11 from sophomore Sebastian Douglas in stopping a stretch where the Vikings had lost three of four including league road losses at Valparaiso and Wright State.
The 74 points put up by the Vikings were the team's most since a 79-59 win over Rio Grande on Dec. 28 and most against a Division I opponent since besting Toledo 78-73 back on Dec. 1.
Cleveland State, which won both regular season meetings last season with Detroit but lost an Horizon League tournament game with the Titans, are in Detroit Feb. 12 in the return match.
Detroit is home Thursday to host Valparaiso. the Titans then stay home on Saturday to play UIC before concluding a 3-game home stand with a Jan. 21 game with league leader Wright State (4-0).