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Time to go dancing! Cleveland State beats Oakland to capture Horizon League Championship and punch ticket to NCAA Tournament

The Vikings are advancing to the NCAA Tournament for only the third time in program history.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Cleveland State Vikings are heading to the NCAA Tournament for just the third time in program history. The Vikings captured the 2021 Horizon League Tournament crown on Tuesday with a 80-69 win over Oakland at Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis.

Cleveland State's men's basketball team also advanced to the tournament in 1986 and again in 2009.

Torrey Patton led Cleveland State with 23 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Tre Gomillion added 16 points and 13 rebounds, while D'Moi Hodge chipped in with 15 points and 8 rebounds. 

Check out our look back at all of the action from Tuesday's game with our time-stamped blog of the Horizon League Championship Game.


Here are some of the sights and sounds of the celebration in Indianapolis. 


3:58 to go, Cleveland State 68, Oakland 58 - The Golden Grizzlies won't go quietly, but there's less than four minutes to play. Every time it looks like Oakland was making a run in this final stretch, Torrey Patton responded with points for the Vikings. Patton hit back-to-back floaters in the lane for CSU to set back Oakland's rally. Hang on tight everyone, history is on the verge of happening!

7:53 to go, Cleveland State 57, Oakland 44 - Just the Vikings needed some breathing room, in came Torrey Patton and Tre Gomillion to help provide clutch baskets to end Oakland's mini-surge. We're under the eight minute media timeout with Cleveland State holding on to a 13-point lead. Gomillion has 14 points and 13 rebounds tonight, while Patton has 13 points and eight boards.

10:48 to go, Cleveland State 51, Oakland 42 - The Golden Grizzlies are on a 7-0 run after Zion Young hit his second straight 3-point basket to bring Oakland back to within single digits. Let's see how the Vikings weather this storm.

11:26 to go, Cleveland State 51, Oakland 39 - Just when you thought the Vikings were about to take firm command of the game, their offense sputtered a bit, while Oakland's Zion Young hit a huge three-pointer to cut CSU's lead to 12 with more than 11 minutes to play. The Vikings turned it over after Young's shot and Torey Patton then called for a timeout while being trapped in the backcourt. 

15:44 to go, Cleveland State 49, Oakland 35 - Cleveland State picked up right where they left off at halftime, playing tight defense and smart offense to open up a 14-point lead at the first media timeout. D'Moi Hodge continues to play well for the Vikings as he's now at 11 points and 6 rebounds for the game. Meanwhile, Rashad Williams, the former Viking, has cooled off after a hot shooting start for Oakland. He's now 3-11 from the field, including 3-10 from beyond the 3-point line.


Cleveland State 40, Oakland 28 - The Vikings closed out the first half on a 13-2 run to grab a 12-point halftime lead. Torrey Patton led Cleveland State with nine points and grabbed six rebounds, Tre Gomillion added eight points and D'Moi Hodge chipped in with seven. 

While we have a moment at the half, I encourage you to check out the interview I did with CSU legend Ken "Mouse" McFadden earlier today. Mouse and I talked about how he and his fellow Viking alums are enjoying this year's ride, his memories of the 1986 team that advanced to the Sweet 16, and so much more. Click here to see what Mouse had to say. 


2:29 to play, Cleveland State 36, Oakland 28 - This was the best stretch of basketball we've seen from the Vikings in the last two days. D'Moi Hodge drilled a three-pointer to give CSU their largest lead of the night heading into the final media timeout. 

The Vikings are shooting a blistering 54.8% from the field and have committed only three turnovers so far. They are also outrebounding the Golden Grizzlies 19-11 to this point.

7:55 to play, Cleveland State 23, Oakland 20 - Rashad Williams is still shooting! The former Vikings has hit 3-6 from 3-point range to keep the Golden Grizzlies within striking distance of Cleveland State.

Meanwhile, Cleveland State is playing the kind of balanced, team-first style that brought them to this Horizon League Championship Game. Six different players have scored for the Vikings thus far led by Torrey Patton's seven points and five rebounds.

11:53 to play, Cleveland State 15, Oakland 15 - Last night's hero Tre Gomillion is off to a good start for the Vikings, shooting 3-3 from the field and adding a steal so far. It's also good to see Al Eichelberger involved early off the bench.

In case you missed Gomillion's heroics from last night, check out this dunk that turned into a three-point play. 

15:35 to play, Oakland 10, Cleveland State 7 - The Vikings came out a little jumpy to start the game with a pair of turnovers and some errant play. Torrey Patton was able to help settle his teammates down, scoring five of CSU's first seven points. Meanwhile, Oakland's Rashad Williams, a former member of the Vikings, has come out firing early, attempting three 3-pointers and making one of them. 


The Vikings and Golden Grizzlies will be meeting for the third time in the 2020-2021 season. Cleveland State swept both games of a doubleheader in Oakland on February 5-6. 

Cleveland State comes into tonight's game with an 18-7 record, including an 18-4 mark in the Horizon League. Oakland checks in at 12-17 overall, but a 12-10 record in the conference. 

Conference tournament play has been a challenge for Cleveland State so far. They held off Purdue Fort Wayne in triple-overtime in last week's quarterfinals, before rallying to beat Milwaukee 71-65 in the semifinals on Monday night. Oakland survived an overtime struggle with Youngstown State last week, then beat Northern Kentucky 69-58 in the conference semifinals on Monday.

The Vikings are paced by senior guard Torrey Patton, who is averaging 14.6 points and 8.0 rebounds this season. Oakland, meanwhile, is led by guard Jalen Moore, who is averaging 17.8 points and 8.4 assists.

More Vikings links:

Here's some more information on tonight, courtesy of my man Ben Axelrod:

Game info, how to watch on TV, betting line:

Date: Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

Location: Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis, Indiana

TV channel: ESPN

Live Stream:  Watch ESPN

Betting line: Cleveland State -2.5

Over-under point total: 140

Watch: Dave "Dino" DeNatale and Nick Camino break down CSU's win over Milwaukee in the player below from Monday night.

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