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Cleveland State falls to Purdue Fort Wayne 75-68, delaying possible Horizon League title

The Vikings are tied with Wright State for first place in the conference heading into the last day of the regular season.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — (AP) Jalon Pipkins posted 19 points as Fort Wayne ended its eight-game losing streak, topping Cleveland State 75-68.

Torrey Patton led CSU with 17 points, but the team shot just 38.7% from the field, compared to 56.3% for the Mastodons. The loss leaves the Vikings (15-7, 15-4 in-conference) in a tie for first place in the Horizon League with Wright State, which lost to Northern Kentucky earlier Friday.

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Cleveland State could've clinched its fifth conference title in team history with a victory, but will instead need either a win or a Wright State loss on the last day of the regular season Saturday to do so. Both teams will again have road games with Northern Kentucky and Purdue Fort Wayne, respectively.

Regardless of who emerges as the eventual champion or co-champion, the result is somewhat moot, as only the winner of the Horizon League Tournament will advance to the NCAA Tournament next month. Both CSU and WSU have already clinched first-round byes and will host quarterfinal home games on March 2, and the No. 1 seed in the bracket will clinch at least a spot in the second-tier National Invitation Tournament (NIT). In the event of a tie between the Vikings and Raiders, the top seed will be determined by a formula utilized by the Horizon League this season due to unbalanced schedules caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cleveland State's regular season finale tips off at 5 p.m. Saturday, and will air live on ESPN3. Wright State's game begins at the same time.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The video in the player below originally aired on Jan. 14