PIKEVILLE, Ky. – Junior Josh Wilkerson scored a team-high 14 points, but the No. 1-ranked University of Pikeville was too much for Cumberland in the first en route to a 82-68 victory Saturday at the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center.
Wilkerson was one of four Bulldogs in double figures in the contest. Moritz Dern, Lester Gude and Lamar Brinkley each recorded 10-plus points while Brinkley added a team-high nine rebounds.
The Bulldogs cut a lead which was as much as 20 points in the second half down to eight with 5:10 on the clock. CU was able to shrink the deficit by improving in a facet of the game which has plagued the squad all year. Cumberland outmanned one of the top rebounding teams in the Mid-South during the second half.
But it would be foul trouble late in the contest that allowed Pikeville to get to the charity stripe and close out the game. The Bears hit 9-of-12 free throws in the second half to ice the game.
Wilkerson did much of his damage early in the opening half, keeping the Bulldogs in the contest. The junior slashed to the bucked on four separate occasions beating his defender for eight points in the opening five and a half minutes. With 14:39 on the clock, CU and Pikeville were even at 10.
Over the next six minutes, the Bears would use a 20-3 run to take a commanding lead in the contest. A Colt Chapman three-pointer with 8:57 on the clock gave Pikeville a 30-13 advantage and capped off the run.
The Bulldogs fought back for the rest of the frame, outscoring the Bears by two points in the remaining minutes however, were unable to make any significant headway. At the break, Cumberland trailed 45-30.
Despite being greatly undersized, the Bulldogs held their own on the glass in the first period. Pikeville pulled down 20 caroms in the first compared to 18 for CU. The difference however proved to be the Bears’ sharpshooting from the outside. Pikeville hit 5-of-9 triples in the first half while Cumberland went just 1-for-6.
Cumberland returns to action just one time over the next week, a home contest against Lindsey Wilson on Thursday. Tip-off for the Mid-South battle at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center is set for 8 p.m.