CLEVELAND — The Cleveland State Vikings men's basketball team is hoping to accomplish something the program has not done in 12 years: punch a ticket to the NCAA Tournament. To do just that, CSU will have to win two more games in the Horizon League Tournament.
Al Eichelberger is a big reason why the Vikings still have a chance to dance.
In Tuesday's quarterfinal match up of the Horizon League Tournament at the Wolstein Center with Purdue Fort Wayne, Eichelberger hit an improbable game-tying three-pointer off the backboard to help Cleveland State force triple overtime and eventually a wild 108-104 victory to advance.
Eichelberger, 23, sat down with 3News Sports Anchor Nick Camino to talk about the dramatic quarterfinal win over the Mastodons, second-year head coach Dennis Gates, the Vikings' upcoming semifinal showdown with Milwaukee on Monday in the Horizon League Tournament and an opportunity to reach the NCAA Tournament with an automatic bid if CSU can win two more games.
The winner of the Cleveland State - Milwaukee semifinal match up, will play the winner of Oakland - Northern Kentucky showdown on Tuesday night on ESPN or ESPN2 in the Horizon League Tournament championship game which includes a bid to The Big Dance.
Cleveland State is the No. 1 overall seed in the Horizon League Tournament after winning the regular season conference title with a record of 16-4.
The Vikings have not played in the NCAA Tournament since 2009 when Cedric Jackson, J'Nathan Bullock and Norris Cole helped CSU upset Wake Forest in the First Round before falling to Arizona in the Round of 32.
Cleveland State is undefeated all-time in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament. The Vikings shocked Bobby Knight's Indiana Hoosiers back in 1986 in the First Round before reaching the Sweet 16 Round.
Editor's Note: Nick Camino talked with Vikings head coach Dennis Gates on February 23, 2021. Watch the interview below.
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