Lamar Brinkley hit a pair of free throws with 18.9 seconds to give Cumberland a 68-67 lead, but a layup from Campbellsville University with four seconds on the clock would prove to be the difference as the Tigers won 69-68 here Saturday at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.
The Bulldogs (10-3, 2-2 MSC) took their first lead of the second half with just two minutes remaining as freshman Marquel Hickerson connected from the right wing for a triple set up by a high screen from Brinkley. The bucket gave Cumberland a 64-63 lead, after battling back from an eight-point deficit.
Hickerson led the way for the Bulldogs with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting and 5-of-9 from behind the arc. Junior Josh Wilkerson and Brinkley each notched double-figure scoring, both with 11.
Just as it had Thursday against St. Catharine College, Cumberland continued to struggle on the glass in the opening half, allowing the Tigers to pull down seven offensive rebounds in the period. Campbellsville (6-6, 1-3 MSC) turned that into 12 second chance points compared to the Bulldogs’ four.
Both teams began the contest with hot hands. Campbellsville played the first 11 minutes of the game at a 64 percent shooting clip, hitting nine of its first 16 shots. The Bulldogs meanwhile recorded a respectable 8-for-16 performance in the same time frame. At the 8:51 mark in the first half, the remained tied at 22.
Hickerson paced the Bulldogs in the first period, connecting on 3-of-4 from three-point range en route to a team-high 11 points in the opening 20 minutes. Wilkerson and senior Lester Gude each added a trey as CU shot 5-for-10 from behind the arc in the half.
Hickerson’s lone miss of the half from long range turned into a big moment for Campbellsville. Already trailing by one with the clock ticking toward zero, Hickerson fired an ill-advised shot from the right wing with about four seconds left.
The Tigers pulled down the rebound and found Eric Gaines streaking down the court. Gaines floated a shot from just inside the three point line which banked off the glass and in as time expired to extend the score to 42-39 headed to the locker room. Gaines would also hit the final layup of the game with just four seconds on the clock to clinch the victory.
After trading buckets in the first two minutes of the second half, Campbellsville jumped out to its largest lead over the next four minutes. The Tigers went on a 7-0 run until a Josh Wilkerson layup and foul stopped the bleeding at 51-45. The Bulldogs followed with five straight points to answer and bring the game within one.
Cumberland heads out on the road Thursday for another Mid-South matchup against Bluefield College. Tip-off for the contest is set for 7 p.m. The Bulldogs will remain on the road on Saturday against the University of Pikeville.