HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, KY--- In a battle for 1st place in the Horizon League, the Cleveland State men's basketball team lost an absolute heart breaker Thursday night 57-56 on a 3 point buzzer beater from Northern Kentucky guard Marques Warrick. Warrick would finish the game with 19 points, shooting 4-5 from 3pt range and 3-4 from the free throw line.
Coming into tonight's game, there was a 4-way tie for 1st place in the HL between not only CSU and NKU, but also Milwaukee and Youngstown State, NKU now has sole possession of 1st place after defeating the Vikings. It was a back and forth game ,as CSU would go on a 13-0 run early, but being quickly shut down by NKU who would not only end the CSU run, but would then go on a 12-2 run of their own before the very fast paced first half ended. Turnovers were both team's kryptonite, combining for 39 on the night. 3 point shooting was also problematic as CSU only made 1 of 10 attempts while the Norse would only make 9 of 22. The 2nd half really defined the game, CSU came out on a cold streak, with their only points coming off of free throws for the first 5 minutes and 56 seconds of the 2nd half, the Vikings went for 6 and a half minutes of game-time without scoring a FG, that would change thanks to Deante "Spider" Johnson who finished with 9 points.
From that point on, anyone listening, watching, or in that building would tell you the game would go down to the wire, the largest lead of the entire game was 7pts, there were a total of 12 lead changes and 14 ties. The game was at it's peak level of intensity during the last 2 minutes. Deante Johnson would tie the game at 50 with 1:12 left, then the game would be tied again at 52 with buckets from Sam Vinson and Drew Lowder with less then a minute to go. After a CSU steal and NKU foul, Enaruna would make 1 of his 2 free throws to make the game 53-52 with 26 seconds left, then Deshon Parker was fouled and sent to the line, he made both of his free throws, 55-52 with 17 seconds left, after back and forth action with foul after foul, enter Marques Warrick, who would be fouled and make both of his free throws, 55-54 with 9 seconds left, after even more action at the free throw line, Warrick had the ball in his hands with 1 second to go, Vinson passed him the ball, he fumbled the ball, dropped it, picked it up and nailed a 3 pointer to end the game. Both teams were stellar defensively tonight, CSU managed to snag away 16 steals, Tristan Enaruna would have 4 of those 16, while NKU would get 10.
The Vikings will look to bounce back Saturday night at Wright State, tip off is set for 7pm, you can hear the game on Fox Sports 1350 The Gambler, the free iHeartRadio app, or HERE