RIO GRANDE, Ohio – Cumberland knocked down 10 free throws in the final 80 seconds and despite missing two foul shots with 5.2 seconds left, Lester Gude blocked the final shot, preserving Cumberland’s 74-72 victory over Rio Grande in men’s basketball action here Thursday night.
Marquel Hickerson’s layup and 3-pointer just before the half gave the Bulldogs (5-0, 1-0 Mid-South) a seven point edge at the break and the club led the entire second half, though the lead fluctuated from one-to-eight points and anywhere in between.
Cumberland led 45-38 on Alex Flagler’s layup, but his outburst after the shot earned him the second technical. Jermaine Warmack, who led all scorers with 22 points, knocked down both technical free throws and Philip Hertz made a short jumper, cutting the CU advantage to three with 14:05 remaining.
Ricky Tisdale’s leaner made it a one-point game with 12:55 to play, but Gude answered with a 3-pointer. The Red Storm cut the deficit to one again just over a minute later, but Hickerson hit the trifecta this time and Kenneth Stripling scored after a steal for a 55-52 lead.
From that bucket at 10:05 until two free throws by Hertz with 5:39 to play, just two points were scored between the two teams, with the clubs combining for nine missed shots, five turnovers and making just 2-of-6 foul shots. Hertz’s two free throws at the 5:39 mark cut the CU edge back to one before Josh Wilkerson’s mid-range jumper for the Bulldogs.
Stripling answered a Hertz field goal with one of his own as well and grabbed his own missed rebound on the foul shot before getting fouled again. He connected on both of these freebies and another Wilkerson jumper pushed the lead back to seven with 3:36 to play.
The Bulldogs kept the advantage above five until the final minute and even that came after a turnover with two free throws from Warmack and a jumper by Travis Elliott. CU made 10 straight free throws in the final seconds, including four by Wilkerson, but Gude was fouled with 5.2 seconds left and a two-point lead.
The senior missed both shots, but retreated on defense and rejected D.D. Joiner’s final 18-footer that would have tied the contest, preserving the win for Cumberland.
Gude led four double-figure scorers with 16 points, while Stripling added 15 and five rebounds and Hickerson finished with 14 points and eight boards. Flagler scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half before picking up a second technical foul with 15:12 remaining in the game. Hertz posted 14 points and nine rebounds off the bench for the Red Storm (3-2, 0-1), while Evan Legg made a trio of 3-pointers and posted 13 points.
Legg’s two straight 3-pointers gave the Red Storm a 24-16 advantage in the first half, but the home team did not score for over seven minutes, opening the door for the Bulldogs. Flagler nailed a pair of trifectas from the wing and he and Hickerson added jumpers as well. Moritz Dern converted a fastbreak layup and Gude connected on another triple for a 31-24 lead.
Warmack singlehandedly got his team back in the game, hitting two free throws, then a 3-pointer from the corner and two more foul shots, knotting the game at 31. The second set of free throws came after a technical foul on Flagler, who converted his two shots at the charity stripe as well after the tech.
Hickerson then made a nice move down the lane and after a turnover by Rio Grande, he nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key with seven seconds left in the half for a 38-31 lead at the break.
Cumberland will play at Shawnee State on Saturday, the fourth contest in the current seven-game road swing for the Bulldogs.
Career nights for Cowan, Smith lead Bulldog ladies
RIO GRANDE, Ohio – Casie Cowan netted a career-high 31 points, including six 3-pointers, and Katie Smith added a career-best 27 points, with 22 in the second half, as seventh-ranked Cumberland shot 64 percent from the field after the break and hung on for a 97-89 victory over Rio Grande here Thursday night at Newt Oliver Arena.
The Bulldogs connected on 29-of-35 free throws as well, including 23-for-28 in the second half, in a contest that featured 47 combined fouls by the two teams. CU made 10 3-pointers in the game, seven in the first half.
Cowan and Smith led four players in double figures, with TaCouya Allen chipping in 13 points, five rebounds and five assists and Brittany Lawson adding 10 points and six boards.
The Bulldogs started quickly, with Cowan netting the first seven points of the game. CU stayed hot from behind the arc in the game’s first 11 minutes, with Tasia Blue, Smith and Layce Colter all nailing trifectas. Cumberland led 21-9 before the Red Storm hit the boards on consecutive trips to the free throw line, scoring seven straight points.
Smith’s three from the top of the key put Cumberland ahead, 27-18, before Brianna Thomas, who led all scorers with 33 points, ran off five straight points and 9-of-11 for Rio Grande, tying the contest at 29 with 5:14 left in the period.
From there the teams went back-and-forth, with Cowan knocking down her third 3-pointer of the half with 94 seconds left before the break, but Thomas answered with a layup and Alexis Payne nailed a trifecta from the corner.
Allen then rebounded a missed shot, hit the layup and was fouled with 3.3 seconds remaining before intermission. She hit the foul shot, giving the Bulldogs a 39-38 advantage headed to the locker room.
Cowan scored 13 points in the half and Allen added eight, with the Bulldogs hitting 7-of-15 from behind the arc. But Rio Grande grabbed 10 offensive rebounds, turning those into points, hurting the smaller and very thin front line for Cumberland.
Smith and Cowan netted the first 18 points of the second half for the Bulldogs, all in the first six minutes, but through it all, Rio Grande hung tough, with four points from Sarah Boner and seven by Thomas, including consecutive buckets to pull the Red Storm within 60-57 with 12 minutes to play.
Lawson did her best work of the night over the next two-plus minutes, registering seven consecutive points for the Bulldogs, drawing fouls in the lane and hitting free throws. Smith added a leaner off the glass and Allen’s old-fashioned 3-point play with 8:44 remaining gave CU a 71-63 advantage.
The Bulldogs pushed the lead to 11 after two foul shots from Cowan with 4:51 to play and from there it was a free throw shooting contest between the two clubs, with the two teams connecting on 13 shots from the charity stripe. Cowan’s final trifecta from the corner all but secured the win for CU, but four free throws from Tasia Blue in the final minute secured the win.
Cumberland will head to 11th-ranked Shawnee State on Saturday for a 1 p.m. CST contest. Thursday’s game was the second of five straight away from home for the Bulldogs.