Michigan opened the NIT Season Tip-Off on Monday night with a win over IUPUI. Tonight, the Wolverines face Cleveland State in the final regional matchup of the preseason tourney.
Cleveland State beat Bowling Green 79-73 in overtime in the Crisler Center. Forward Tim Kamczyc scored a game-high 21 points on 5-of-10 shooting from three-point range. Guard Charlie Lee and forward Marlin Mason each tallied a double-double with 14 points, 10 assists and 11 points, 13 rebounds, respectively.
The game was fairly back and forth throughout as Kamczyc hit a three to send the game into overtime. Another Kamczyc three gave CSU the lead in overtime and the Vikings never looked back, converting their free throws down the stretch.
The win advanced Cleveland State to 2-0. Their first win was a 92-49 thumping of Grambling on Friday.
Cleveland State was predicted to finish fifth in the Horizon League this year after going 22-11 last season. The year ended with a NIT opening round loss to Stanford. The Vikings return just one starter, Kamczyc, from that team. The four that departed – Trey Harmon, Jeremy Montgomery, D’Aundray Brown, and Aaron Pogue – combined to average 40 points, 13.9 rebounds, and 8.1 assits per game last season.
Kamczyc averaged 9.1 points and 3.9 rebounds. He’s the lone senior on a roster that currently has a combined nine freshmen and sophomores. Last year’s sixth man, Anton Grady, was named to the preseason Second Team All-Horizon team. He averaged 8.5 points per game last season, but was even better (10.5) in conference play. He scored 10 on Monday night and 14 in the opener.
CSU is shooting 47.3 percent from the field and 47.2 from three-point range, while Michigan has been lights out so far this season (58.7 and 62.5 percent, respectively). One stat that stands out is CSU’s ability to get steals. The Vikings have forced 32 turnovers resulting in 21 steals so far.
Both teams will be fighting for a trip to New York to participate in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off. The winner will likely face Pittsburgh next Wednesday, while the loser will play a consolation game.