HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Sophomore Alex Flagler hit a three-pointer from the right wing with just 51 seconds remaining to give Cumberland a two-point advantage and Lamar Brinkley shut the door with four free throws in the final minute as the Bulldogs erased a 13-point deficit in the second half to beat Oakwood University, 54-50 victory Saturday night at Ashby Auditorium.
Flagler finished the game with a team-high 14 points and Brinkley added 12 including hitting an impressive 6-of-7 from the charity stripe. Freshman Marquel Hickerson also registered double-figures scoring 10.
The Bulldogs trailed by two points at the end of the first half, but quickly regained the lead as Hickerson connected on back-to-back treys near the 16-minute mark. Brinkley added a layup with 15 minutes remaining before a lid seemed to find a place atop the Cumberland goal.
Cumberland would spend nearly the next eight minutes without a field goal, hitting just five free throws during the span. The Ambassadors used that time slot to open up a 13-point advantage, capped by a three-pointer from Jordan Riley with 8:04 to play.
Brinkley stopped the bleeding with a bucket at the 7:15 mark to move the contest to 41-35 in favor of Oakwood.
With 4:05 remaining Flagler connected from three to give Cumberland a 45-43 lead. Trailing by one with under a minute left, the sophomore hoisted a shot from behind the arc to again recapture a short-lived lead. That was because the Ambassadors responded from downtown with 35 seconds on the clock.
Brinkley drew a foul and connected on a pair of free throws to recapture the lead and, after a pair of missed free throws by Oakwood, pulled down the rebound that would seal the victory for the Bulldogs.
Cumberland continues a historical start this season, having collected eight straight victories without a loss to open the season. Cumberland will look to remain perfect with a test Saturday against Bethel University. The teams are set for tip-off at 4 p.m. at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.