CHICAGO – Following a season with more than their share of close losses, Chicago State men's basketball left no doubt when it mattered most. Chicago State cruised to a 75-60 victory over Houston Baptist on Saturday (March 16) in the 2013 Great West Conference Tournament Championship. The win came on Chicago State's home court of the Jones Convocation Center.
The title is Chicago State's first men's basketball tournament championship as an NCAA Division I program. The win gives Chicago State the GWC's automatic berth in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. The Cougars will find out their opponent when the entire bracket is announced tomorrow (March 17).
The Cougars opened a 44-25 lead at halftime over Houston Baptist and grew it as large as 24 before a final point margin of victory of 15 points. The home team did it with stifling defense. Houston Baptist shot just 17-of-45 from the floor (37.8 percent). Chicago State scored 21 points off of 19 Houston Baptist turnovers. Thanks to a 19-10 offensive rebounding edge, the Cougars dominated in second chance points with 26 to the Huskies' five.
Senior Jeremy Robinson had one of his best games of the season at the most important time. He finished with a team-high 17 points in 15 minutes off the bench. "Jeremy has battled injuries all year and he has played through it the whole time," Chicago State head coach Tracy Dildy said. "To see him come in and have the type of night he had, I'm happy for him. "
Junior Nate Duhon added 15 points with six steals. Duhon and Robinson were named to the GWC All-Tournament Team with Duhon taking home Tournament MVP honors. Houston Baptist's Art Bernardi and Rob Lewis joined Utah Valley's Nick Thompson on the postseason squad.
Junior Matt Ross and sophomore Clarke Rosenberg each had 10 points for the Cougars. Bernardi led Houston Baptist with 17.
"This is a great day for the program, the department and the university," Dildy said. "Chicago State Chicago State is the first NCAA Division I school in Chicago to win a tournament championship since UIC in 2004. Houston Baptist concludes the season 14-17. Chicago State improves to 11-21.