CLEVELAND, Ohio — Sophomore guard Charlie Lee scored 14 points, handed out a game-high nine assists and collected three steals to lead Cleveland State University past the University of Rio Grande, 79-59, Friday night, in men’s basketball action at the Wolstein Center.
The game was the second of two exhibition contests for the RedStorm against NCAA Division I foes this season and did not count against the team’s won-loss record.
Cleveland State, a member of the Horizon League, upped its season mark to 8-5 with the win. The Vikings also improved to 3-0 all-time against Rio Grande, defeating the RedStorm at home for a second consecutive season.
Friday’s contest was a nip-and-tuck affair throughout the first half, with the two teams combining for three ties and nine lead changes. CSU grabbed a 35-32 cushion at the intermission, though, when Tim Kamczyc buried a three-pointer from the right wing just before the buzzer to end the half.
As things turned out, it would be a lead that the Vikings would never relinquish.
Rio Grande trailed just 40-36 following a three-pointer by freshman guard D.D. Joiner with 18:25 left to play, but the Vikings reeled off 16 of the game’s next 19 points to open up a 56-39 advantage and never looked back.
The RedStorm got no closer than 12 points the rest of the way, while CSU twice led by as many as 24 points inside the final 2-1/2 minutes.
Marlin Mason added 14 points of his own to go along with three steals and two blocked shots for the Vikings, while Kamczyc finished 11 points and a team-best five rebounds. Bryn Forbes also scored 11 points in the win.
Cleveland State shot just under 52 percent from the field for the game, including 57.7% (15-for-26) in the second half.
Rio Grande got a game-high 15 points from senior center Dominick Haynes, who played before more than a dozen family and friends in his return to his hometown. He also blocked a pair of shots.
Junior forward Karl Moore netted 10 points and yanked down a game-high nine rebounds for the RedStorm, while junior guard Jermaine Warmack had three assists and as many steals.
Rio Grande will return to action on Sunday, when it hosts Cincinnati-Clermont for a 3 p.m. tipoff at the Newt Oliver Arena. The game will serve as Youth Day, with any child wearing his or her jersey admitted for free — along with their parents.