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Cleveland State upends No. 12 Butler

Thursday, January 17, 2008

By TOM WITHERS

AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND -- Cedric Jackson scored 14 points as Cleveland State, a program in disarray for most of the past 20 years, stunned No. 12 Butler 56-52 on Thursday night for the Vikings' first regular-season win over an AP Top 25 team.

J'Nathan Bullock added 14 points, the last one coming on a free throw with 2.6 seconds left for Cleveland State (13-5, 6-0 Horizon League), whose students stormed the floor after the final horn.

The Vikings came in 1-26 in games against ranked opponents, with their only win coming on March 14, 1986, against No. 16 Indiana in the NCAA tournament under coach Kevin Mackey.

Freshman Matt Howard scored 16 points to lead Butler (16-2, 5-2), which missed a barrage of 3-pointers in the final seconds as they tried to tie it. Mike Green, the Bulldogs' leading scored had 12 points of 4-of-11 shooting before fouling out and senior A.J. Graves had 5 and went only 2-of-11 from the floor.

It was Cleveland State's night from the start and the win validated second-year coach Gary Waters' turnaround with the Vikings, who were only 10-21 last season and haven't had a winning season since 2000-01.

Last season, Butler made a school and conference record 20 3-pointers in a 92-50 thumping of Cleveland State. But the Bulldogs were just 6-of-23 from behind the arc and they couldn't buy a 3 when they needed one down the stretch.

Green's two free throws pulled within 50-48 with 3:21 left, but Jackson, a transfer from St. John's, was left open on the right wing and drilled a 3-pointer to put the Vikings ahead by five.

Cleveland State's fans, who have seen so many potential upsets slip away in the past, began sensing the upset before Graves drove through the lane and dropped in a high-arching shot that went 20 feet in the air.

But with a chance to pull Butler closer after a turnover, Graves, an 89-percent free throw shooter, missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 2:23 to go. George Tandy then scored inside for Cleveland State and Campbell, Graves and Juilan Betko misfired on 3s in the last minute as Butler lost for the first time in nine games.

Cleveland State has been a mess for years. However, Waters, who built Kent State into a perennial 20-win team, is slowly turning around the Vikings, who were only 3-13 in the Horizon last year.

It's been 21 years since Cleveland State made its memorable NCAA tourney run when guard Kenny "Mouse" McFadden and cast of unknowns upset Bobby Knight's Hoosiers and Saint Joseph's before losing in a regional semifinal to David Robinson and Navy.

All Waters needed was a signature win to make everyone believe the small school could do big things again -- and now he's got it.

Cleveland State's aggressiveness on defense rattled the Bulldogs early on. Butler made uncharacteristic miscues with the ball, and after Green went to the bench with his second personal foul with 12:15 left, the Vikings opened a 19-12 lead.

But Campbell, who seems to like the rims in the Wolstein Center, dropped three consecutive 3-pointers in a three-minute stretch as Butler, which missed its first 3-pointers, closed within 22-21.

In last year's win, Campbell went 8-for-11 on 3s and scored a career-high 29 points.

Joe Davis, who came in averaging just 9.3 points, drained a 3-pointer with 58 seconds left as Cleveland State took a 31-26 lead at half.

CLEVELAND ST. 56, No. 12 BUTLER 52

BUTLER (16-2)

Streicher 1-3 0-0 2, Howard 5-9 6-8 16, Betko 0-5 0-0 0, Graves 2-11 0-1 5, Green 4-11 4-4 12, Vanzant 0-2 0-0 0, Hahn 0-1 0-0 0, Veasley 1-3 0-0 2, Leiendecker 0-0 0-0 0, Jukes 0-0 0-0 0, Campbell 5-8 0-0 15. Totals 18-53 10-13 52.

CLEVELAND ST. (13-5)

Tandy 3-3 1-3 7, Bullock 6-16 2-4 14, Moore 2-2 1-2 5, Jackson 4-6 5-7 14, Watson 0-1 1-2 1, Francis 0-2 0-0 0, Davis 5-7 0-0 13, Cole 1-2 0-0 2, Brown 0-6 0-1 0, Fields 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-45 10-19 56.

Halftime--Cleveland State 31-26. 3-Point Goals--Butler 6-23 (Campbell 5-7, Graves 1-6, Streicher 0-1, Green 0-2, Vanzant 0-2, Betko 0-5), Cleveland St. 4-7 (Davis 3-4, Jackson 1-2, Francis 0-1). Fouled Out--Green. Rebounds--Butler 32 (Howard 8), Cleveland St. 37 (Bullock 9). Assists--Butler 11 (Graves, Green, Veasley 2), Cleveland St. 12 (Jackson 4). Total Fouls--Butler 15, Cleveland St. 14. A--5,352.



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