While top-ranked Duke was absorbing a rare homecourt upset loss Tuesday night, Jalen Duke put Cumberland's game on ice when Phoenix coach Jeremy Lewis drew up a play for him with 30 seconds remaining.
Duke received the ball at the top of the key, made a power move toward the basket and hit a fadeaway jumper just outside the paint to beat visiting Fisk 71-67 Tuesday night at Dallas Floyd Arena/Cliff Ellis Court.
Cumberland (7-3) did most of its work inside the three-point line, attacking the basket from all angles. The team shot 45.9% from the field and hauled in 51 rebounds. The Phoenix struggled mightily from the charity stripe, missing 21 free throws in going 12-of-33, but managed to overcome that and get the hard-fought win.
Fisk (2-9) relied heavily on its starters, the starting five posting 58 of the team's 67 points. Addison Miller had the green light all night firing 18 shots to collect 24 points and the Bulldogs' big man Odell Brandon posted 24 points all from around the rim. The team went 3-of-21 from beyond the arc.
Duke led the Phoenix with 19 points, including the jumper to seal the victory, DeMari Davis was a force down low picking up another double-double with 15 points and 12 boards. TJ Stargell registered nine points and 10 rebounds from the point guard position. Aaron Ridley and Mt. Juliet's Isaac Stephens rounded off the starters with eight and six points, respectively. Asher Blum came off the bench in the first half and put up a strong eight points.
Stephens came out and got the first points of the game with a layup. The team' traded baskets until 17-17 halfway through the first half and then Jaylen Negron hit both of his free throws. Ridley came down and hit a layup and a Duke a three to give CU a quick 7-1 run, but Fisk would never let the Phoenix get away. The Bulldogs battled back to go up by three after an 11-2 run of their own.
Blum checked into the game and provided a spark for the Phoenix, posting the next four points to swing the lead back to Cumberland. Heath Starkey provide four points in the final three minutes of the half and Stargell pulled up in the paint and hit a jumper to give Cumberland a 37-33 lead at the intermission.
Duke came out in the second half with a three and an and-one opportunity, but missed the free throw after giving the Phoenix their largest lead of the night 42-33. The second half for Fisk was the Brandon and Miller Show as the duo posted 24 of the team's final 34 points. The duo sparked the Bulldogs into a 9-3 run to cut the score to 56-54 with seven minutes to play and eventually take the lead 61-60 with five to play.
But Davis put a halt on the Fisk momentum with a big slam. Stargell made a huge play down the stretch after hitting one-of-two free throws, Stargell faceguarded the point and picked his pocket for an easy lay in to tie the game, 65-65. Duke took over the final minute of play with three buckets including the huge fadeaway jumper from the paint to seal the game.
Cumberland will return home next Tuesday to play Oakwood University at 7 p.m. before beginning Mid-South Conference play at Shawnee State and Pikeville the following Tuesday and Thursday.