CLEVELAND — The Cleveland State Men's Basketball team played for a share of the Horizon League regular season title last weekend.
"I don't think anybody would have thought we'd even be in that position to play for first place," says junior forward Tristan Enaruna.
The Vikings lost to Milwaukee 81-72 on the road in the regular season finale on Saturday.
"We kinda let that loss sink in. We wanted that win pretty bad," says senior guard Deshon Parker.
The loss snapped a five-game winning streak. Cleveland State will now enter the Horizon League tournament as the no. 3 seed.
"Another loss is the end of our season, so having that loss right there might've hurt, but it was a learning experience we needed," says senior forward Deante Johnson.
"You have to think about all the hard work and the games that you won getting to that point," says Head Coach Daniyal Robinson.
Now, it's win or go home.
"This is where everything really matters," Enaruna said.
The Vikings have a first-round bye and will play in the quarterfinal on Thursday. They'll play the highest-remaining seed after Tuesday night's games.
"It's always been about us from day one. Whatever team comes forward on Thursday, we're gonna be ready for them regardless," Johnson said.
"We focus pretty much 90% on what we do and imposing our will on other teams, so we'll prepare exactly how we've prepared in the past," Robinson said.
Cleveland State might not know who their opponent will be yet, but they do know where they'll play — at home.
"Being able to host is huge. It's an advantage," Robinson said.
The Vikings have only lost three games at the Wolstein Center all season.
"We feel like we do a great job of taking care of our home court, taking care of our house, as we call it," Parker said.
"I think we've played some of our best games at home, so we have some form of confidence when we play here," Enaruna said.
"I know our fans are gonna have our back. We're gonna have their back and get the win," Johnson said.
The quarterfinal game tips off at 8 p.m on March 2.
Carly Mascitti is a sports anchor at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @carlymascitti.
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