Running Eagles outgun CU 102-98
LEBANON -- Life University nailed a dozen triples and Dalarian Williams netted a game-high 27 points in a 102-98 victory over Cumberland Thursday night at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.
The Phoenix (9-12, 2-6 Mid-South) shot 59 percent from the field and hit nine 3-pointers, but Life put together a 22-7 spurt to end the first half and then held off CU in the second period.
Cumberland had four players in double figures, led by Marquel Hickerson's 23 points.
Mark Brown made five 3-pointers and Will Shelton hit 7-for-11 at the foul line, with both players plus Cameron Johnson scoring 19 points for Cumberland.
DeQuan Bond added nine points and eight rebounds, while Hickerson grabbed seven rebounds and handed out four assists in the loss.
"We scored 98 points, that's pretty good," said CU coach Lonnie Thompson.
"I told the guys that I was proud of them. They played to the end and gave me a chance to coach the game to the end. That's a good team we played tonight."
Williams connected on 13-of-24 shots overall to lead the Running Eagles (10-5, 4-3), while Juwan Burden posted five 3-pointers and 22 points.
Justin Perry finished with 19 points and five assists and Rhoney added 13. Williams also led all players in the contest with nine boards.
Cumberland started the game on fire from the field, hitting 13-of-16 shots in the first 11 minutes of the game.
Brown was 4-for-4 from behind the arc and Hickerson's drive to the hoop plus the foul gave the Phoenix a 36-23 advantage.
Hickerson added another old-fashioned 3-point play at the 6:58 mark, but Burden answered for the Running Eagles with a 3-pointer, starting a 22-7 spurt to end the half for Life. Burden added another triple and a basket during the run, as Cumberland went just 4-of-12 from the field after the hot start.
Perry's 3-pointer and a long banked-in jumper at the end of the shot clock by Rhoney tied the game at 46 before a trifecta from the corner by Perry with two seconds left in the half gave Life a 49-46 advantage at intermission.
Brown and Hickerson each scored 12 points for CU and Shelton posted eight, but Cumberland scored just one point in the final 4:05 of the period. Burden led all scorers with 16 points and Williams netted 14 for the Running Eagles.
Williams scored eight of the first 10 points of the second half for Life, who took a 58-50 lead less than four minutes into the period. Courtney Warren's jumper at the 14:11 mark gave the Running Eagles their biggest lead of the game at 66-57, but a 13-5 run by Cumberland got the home team back into the contest.
Hickerson and Brown each made 3-pointers during the spurt, as did Bond, and Shelton's two foul shots with 11:12 remaining made it a one-point game. The game went back-and-forth the rest of the way, with no team leading by more than four until an 8-2 run by Life late in the contest.
Johnson's layup with 5:43 remaining tied the game at 84, but Rhoney answered with a trifecta for Life and Perry made two layups for a 92-86 advantage. Brown's layup at the 1:23 mark pulled CU within 95-92, but Rhoney's triple from the top of the key on the next possession all but sealed the win for the visitors.
Cumberland continued to fight, with Johnson scoring three straight times down the floor in the final minute, the last one making it 101-98, but Perry made the second of two free throws with eight seconds left to give the victory to the Running Eagles.
Cumberland hosts Lindsey Wilson next Thursday at 8 p.m. and heads to Marietta, Ga., for the second meeting with Life in two weeks.