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After a 33-game losing streak to Division I schools and 31 straight Mid-Continent Conference losses, Chicago State has won its last five games and has done so with a road victory over Western Illinois and a Mid-Continent victory over Oakland in overtime.

Now at 5-2 in the conference, the 6-14 Cougars are in position to move into first place with a victory Thursday at IUPUI coupled with a loss Saturday by Oral Roberts to visiting Missouri-Kansas City.

To talk about a turnaround after a five-game winning streak may be a stretch, particularly for a school that has not had a winning record since 1986.

But something has changed at Chicago State.
{Kevin} Jones[, the new CSU coach] was a Marine from 1983 to 1987. No, that's probably not right. Once a Marine, always a Marine. Jones grasped that the method to the apparent Corps madness was to break down individuals then build them back up as a group. So it would be with his Cougars.

For example, Jones ordered players to do as many pushups as they could, then made them crawl the length of the floor using nothing but their upper body.

"They were moaning and sweating and sliding like seals," Jones recalled, laughing. "But that's what it's all about."

Peer pressure replaced Jones' pressure and players began to help each other get through the rough spots. No one wanted to be the one to quit or let the group down. Jones' goal was to turn five individual fingers on the court into a fist.

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