Cleveland State upsets Oakland in Horizon League semifinal; will meet Wright St. for NCAA berth

Cleveland State plays No. 2 Wright State in Tuesday's championship at 7 p.m.

One win is all Oakland could muster in the Horizon League tournament.

Despite expectations of a tournament championship, the No. 4-seeded Grizzlies were upset by No. 8 Cleveland State, 44-43, in Monday night's semifinal at Little Caesars Arena.

Oakland (19-14), which beat IUPUI in the quarterfinals for its first tournament win since 2014, let a 12-point first-half lead slip away — and the opportunistic Vikings (12-22), who upended No. 1 Northern Kentucky in the quarterfinals, took advantage to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive.

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Cleveland State plays No. 2 Wright State in Tuesday's championship at 7 p.m.

With the Vikings ahead, 42-40 with 2:20 left, Grizzlies senior guard Kendrick Nunn nailed a 3-pointer to give his team a one-point advantage. Oakland had a chance to extend the lead a minute later, but Nunn missed a jumper and the Vikings secured the rebound.

Cleveland State freshman guard Tyree Appleby hit a runner with 32 seconds left for what turned out to be the winning basket. Oakland's Nick Daniels missed an off-balance layup on the Grizzlies' ensuing offensive possession, and following an Appleby missed free throw, Nunn's jumper with time winding down was no good.

Jalen Hayes finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Grizzlies, while Nunn scored 19 points on 7 of 24 shooting from the field.

Kenny Carpenter had 16 points and Anthony Wright added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Vikings.

Scoring drought

Hayes gave Oakland a 23-11 lead on a pair of free throws with 6:29 left in the opening half, and the Grizzlies didn't score again until two more Hayes free throws with 17:40 left in the second half. Hayes sat out the final five-plus minutes of the first half after picking up his third foul.

Cleveland State, which ended the first half with an 11-0 run to get within 23-22, scored the first four points of the second half to take a 26-23 edge.

The Locker Room erupts

Check out this video of Head Coach Dennis Felton getting surprised by his Vikings in the locker room after the victory!

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