March 20, 2009

COL BKB: Cleveland St. 84, Wake Forest 69

Cedric Jackson made two 3-pointers in a 9-0 run to open the game Friday and Cleveland State went on to stun Wake Forest 84-69 in the NCAA Tournament.

Appearing in the tourney for the first time in 23 years, the Vikings dominated from start to finish in the biggest surprise of the tourney's opening round. It was not just that they won, but the way the Vikings did it that made them the most unlikely winner during the first two days of the event.

Cleveland State (25-10), seeded 13th in the Midwest Region, will be part of an unlikely matchup when it faces No. 12 seed Arizona Sunday in the second round.

J'Nathan Bullock had 21 points for the Vikings and Jackson had 19. Jackson's two early 3-pointers set the tone and Wake Forest, which finished second behind North Carolina in the powerhouse Atlantic Coast Conference, was forced into 17 turnovers for the game.

Cleveland State, which finished only third in the Horizon League but which downed Butler to win the conference's tournament, took a 39-30 halftime lead.

Wake Forest trailed by only six with 11 minutes to play and seemed poised for a run, but it was Cleveland State that went on an 18-5 surge over an 8-minute span to put the game away.

The last time the Vikings played in the NCAA Tournament, they surprised an Indiana team coached by Bobby Knight in the first round.

Wake Forest (24-7) was led by James Johnson with 22 points. The ACC finished the first round with three of its six participants having been eliminated. Clemson and Florida State were also knocked out during the tournament's first two days.