Jeremy Montgomery scored a career-high 26 points and Norris Cole had 25 as Cleveland State held onto first place in the Horizon League with a 76-65 win over Valparaiso on Thursday night.

The win was the sixth straight for the Vikings (21-3, 10-2), who never trailed but saw the Crusaders, who came in half a game back, rally from 11-point deficits in both halves.

Ahead 29-18 with 5:25 to go in the first half, Cleveland State took a 31-30 lead into halftime.

In the second, the Vikings took three 11-point leads, the last at 47-36 with 14:07 left. Valparaiso closed to 49-47 with 9:43 to go, but Cleveland State answered with a 7-0 run.

The Crusaders (16-7, 8-3) threatened again at 63-60 with 3:14 left, but Cole scored four points on another 7-0 run.

Howard Little had 17 points and Ryan Broekhoff 15 points and 11 rebounds for Valparaiso, which has won six of eight.