Cumberland’s men fell into an early deficit and were never able to mount a substantial comeback as the clear-size advantage for St. Catharine led the way to 23 offensive rebounds, 44 overall boards and an 83-60 victory for the Patriots on Thursday night at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.
Senior Lester Gude led the way for Cumberland (10-2, 2-1 SSC), scoring 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including 2-of-3 from behind the arc. Redshirt junior Daniel McFadden added a season-high 11 points, including 10 in the second half, for the Bulldogs.
St. Catharine (8-4, 2-1 SSC) dominated the contest in nearly every facet of the game; however none more than on the boards as the undersized Cumberland big men were forced to battle on every shot. Julito Hutchinson grabbed nine caroms to lead the way for the Patriots, who had four players with at least five boards.
Cumberland struggled to find any rhythm offensively in the first eight minutes of the contest. The Bulldogs opened the game at a 1-for-6 shooting clip falling into an 11-4 hole at the first media break.
The Patriots continued to put on the pressure, scoring the next six points to extend the lead to 11. Gude would stop the bleeding at the 9:42 mark with a layup, the Bulldogs’ first field goal in more than seven minutes.
Compounding the problem was St. Catharine’s dominance on the glass. Over the course of the opening 11 minutes, the Patriots would grab 18 rebounds, including nine on the offensive side, to CU’s eight.
Despite opening the half ice cold from the field, Cumberland was able to outshoot the Patriots in the frame thanks in part to a pair of late buckets, including a layup from DeQuan Bond and a triple from Alex Flagler in the closing minute to shrink the SCC lead to 15 at 41-26.
Flagler paced the Bulldogs in the opening half with nine points, and Gude added seven. But it was St. Catharine’s sufficient size advantage which would prove to be the demise of the Bulldogs. The Patriots out-rebounded CU 27-19 in the first half, with 13 offensive boards to counter just a 40 percent shooting performance.
Cumberland caught fire from the field to open the second half, hitting six of its first eight shots. However, the rebounding woes continued to cause problems as St. Catharine grabbed four offensive rebounds in a two-possession span to keep a Bulldog run at bay.
Despite shooting 67 percent through the first eight minutes of the second period, Cumberland turnovers and missed opportunities allowed St. Catharine to maintain at 58-43 advantage. The last 12 minutes would prove to be an effort in futility as the Bulldogs were able to get as close as 11 points, but unable to ever pose a serious threat.
Cumberland will return to action against Campbellsville on Saturday back home at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center. The Bulldogs and Tigers are set for a 4 p.m. tipoff.