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Blue Raiders top CU 70-61

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Lamar Brinkley / Steve Wampler photo

LEBANON -- The Cumberland men’s basketball team took a three point advantage with 7:45 left in the game, but Lindsey Wilson College followed with a 15-3 run over the next six minutes to hand the Bulldogs their fifth loss in six games Thursday 70-61 at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.

Cumberland (11-5, 3-4 Mid-South) was unable to draw even for the first time in the second half until the 8:07 mark when freshman Marquel Hickerson dropped a pair of free throws. The freshman followed immediately after with a fast-break bucket-and-foul opportunity to give CU a 55-52 lead with 7:45 showing on the clock.

"Lindsey Wilson got some easy baskets off transition there in the second half," said CU coach Lonnie Thompson.

The Blue Raiders (11-8, 2-5) again recaptured the lead at the 5:47 mark as back-to-back CU turnovers resulted in two transition buckets for a 58-55 lead in favor of the visitors. Following the lone Cumberland advantage of the period, LWC responded with a 15-3 run during the next seven minutes to assume control.

The Bulldogs shot an abysmal 28 percent from the field in the second half, hitting just 7-of-25 shots including 4-of-18 from inside the three-point line.

Hickerson led the Bulldogs in scoring for the seventh time this season with a game-high 21 points, his fifth time scoring 20-plus. Redshirt senior Lamar Brinkley and junior Josh Wilkerson added 12 point each.

"We've got to have someone else besides Marquel step up and score for us," Thompson said. "It looks like our guys are sitting around watching Marquel instead of getting involved in the offense. He's a good scorers, but we need two or more to do that every night."

Cumberland opened the game white hot, hitting eight of its first 11 shots to take a 19-16 advantage at the 10:30 mark in the first half. Hickerson led the way with eight points, connecting on 3-of-4 including 2-of-3 from behind the arc.

The Bulldogs shooting cooled slightly as the Blue Raiders’ Daronte’ Clark hit back-to-back triples on fast break opportunities to give LWC a 27-26 lead with 6:18 on the clock, its first advantage since the 17:45 mark.

Wilkerson took over the next two minutes for the Bulldogs, scoring seven straight points to hand the lead back to CU with 4:44 remaining. The two squads traded buckets for the remainder of the half but a transition layup from Keshaun Mayfield at the two-minute mark proved to be the final score of the half leading Lindsey Wilson into the locker room with a 36-35 advantage.

Hickerson matched Clark with a game-high 12 points at the break, while Wilkerson added nine and Lamar Brinkley scored seven. The Bulldogs ended the half shooting 48 percent from the field, but just 30 percent from long range.

Lindsey Wilson broke open its largest lead of the game to that point, a six-point lead six minutes into the second half. Wilkerson stopped the bleeding with a three-pointer from the corner to cut the deficit to 46-43 with 13:30 remaining.

For the fourth time in Mid-South play, Cumberland was unable to turn a halftime deficit into a victory. In the Bulldogs previous three MSC losses, CU trailed at the break in each. In its three victories, Cumberland held a halftime advantage.

Cumberland now enjoys a week-long break before facing off against Georgetown College at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center on Thursday, January 23. Tip-off for the Mid-South matchup is set for 8 p.m.

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