The Cleveland State men's basketball team pulled ahead in overtime to bring home their first conference win on Saturday against Southwest Tennessee.
The game was back and forth throughout, but the Cougars outscored Southwest Tennessee (0-6, 0-2) by 10 in OT to take the victory 94-84 remaining undefeated at home on the season.
"Hats off to Southwest, they put a lot of pressure on us up front, but we were able to remain poised and make good decisions down the stretch," head coach Rafael Howard said.
Cleveland State (3-1, 1-1) came into the contest down their starting point guard Staishaun Kelley due to an injury. With that being the case, it was next man up mentality for the Cougars.
Most notably was Julius King, Jr. scoring a game and season high 39 points going 12-20 from the floor, 5-9 from three point land and 10-12 from the free throw line.
"Jay King held us down with his scoring, and his ability to get to the rim and score from deep kept us in the game, " Howard said. "Good win, we had several guys step up and contribute on both sides of the ball."
Thaddeus Johnson also played well for the Cougars scoring 14 points while contributing seven assists and five rebounds.
The Saluqis were led by the number two scorer in the conference Nick Woodard putting in 27 points while securing seven rebounds. Jaden Taylor also had a strong performance putting together a double-double with 23 points and 10 assists.
Cleveland State is back in action looking for their first road win on Monday night when they travel to Tennessee Wesleyan to play their JV squad. The two met back on November 4 with the Cougars taking that game 107-32. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m.
The Cougar's women's basketball team also won their conference opener in overtime.
Cleveland State (3-1, 1-1) clamped down on defense holding Southwest Tennessee (4-2, 1-1) to two points in the extra period securing a 66-57 victory.
"I'm so proud of this team today," head coach Lisa Phillips said. "Their ability to play through adversity proved that they can play anybody on any given day and beat them."
The Cougars were up 13 points heading into the fourth quarter, but the Saluqis stormed back tying the game.
In overtime, Jarnyria Maddox put in half of the Cougars points while also coming up with a steal and a rebound. Maddox and Jordan McCullough each scored a game high 16 points. McCullough added six rebounds and six steals.
"Jay Maddox took control of the game in overtime which helped secured the win," Phillips said. "Jordan McCullogh gave us great minutes rebounding well and knocking down buckets keeping us in the game."
The defense caused Southwest Tennesse to turn the ball over 18 times while Cleveland State committed just six turnovers.
"It was really a team effort," Phillips said. "We will continue to work hard and get better."
The Cougars will take off this week before returning to the court playing a conference game at Walters State (1-2, 0-1) on Wednesday November 29. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m.