HICAGO, Ill. - Marlin Mason scored a career-high 22 points and Cleveland State shot 51-percent from the field to claim a 77-66 win over UIC on Saturday night in the UIC Pavilion.
The Vikings improved to 11-12 overall and 3-6 in the Horizon League, while UIC slipped to 14-9 overall and 5-5 in league play.
CSU extended its win streak over the Flames to 12 straight and 14 of the last 15. It was also CSU's first road win in league play this year with five of its next six games at home.
Mason made 8-of-12 from the field and added six rebounds. Charlie Lee finished with his second career double-double with 11 points and a career-high tying 10 assists. Junior Lomomba scored 13 points off the bench and Bryn Forbes scored 10 points, his 13th straight double-digit scoring game.
The Vikings shot .509 (27-53) and held UIC to 38-percent (18-48) shooting. CSU also dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Flames, 38-24.
The Vikings never trailed in the first half, using back-to-back
three-pointers from Mason and Forbes and a Mason bucket to take a 12-4
lead eight minutes in. UIC cut the Viking lead to three (17-14) at the
6:42 mark, but Sebastian Douglas
hit a jumper and Mason drained a three-pointer to extend the lead back
to eight points (22-14) with just over five minutes to go in the half.
CSU had a few chances to extend the lead to double-figures, but could not convert and the Flames would use a 9-4 run to pull back within three (26-23) with two minutes left.
Junior Lomomba answered with a pair of three-pointers, sandwiched around one from UIC's Daniel Barnes, and a Mason tip-in just before the buzzer sent CSU into the locker room with a 34-26 lead.
It was the first time CSU led at the half on the road this year and Mason was a big reason for it. He finished with 11 first half points and four rebounds, hitting 4-of-6 from the field and both of his three-pointers.
UIC started the second half scoring, but the Vikings answered with 12 straight points to open up a 46-28 lead on a Long layup. A pair of UIC three-pointers brought the Flames back within 48-34, the Vikings scored 10 of the next 12 points, capped by a Mason three-pointer, to take a 58-36 lead midway through the second half.
The Flames had one last run, cutting their deficit to 62-55 - the last 12 points coming at the free throw line - but Lee hit two free throws and a floater in the lane to extend CSU's lead back to 11 (66-55) with 1:24 left.
CSU is back in action on Tuesday (Feb. 5) when the Vikings host Youngstown State at 7:00 p.m. in the Wolstein Center. The game will be broadcast on Time Warner Sports Channel (channel 311 or 1311 HD).