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CU men fight, but No. 5 Patriots pull away late

Feb. 24—Cumberland's men fought to the end, but No. 5 Cumberlands proved to be too much to overcome for the Phoenix who fell 88-74 Thursday night at the Dallas Floyd Phoenix Arena/Cliff Ellis Court.

The Phoenix (6-19, 2-9 Mid-South Conference) started well shooting 43.1% from the field. CU made four 3s in the first half but was unable to connect on a triple in the second. Cumberland made 14 of 22 free throws.

Demarius Boyd posted his ninth 20-plus-point game of the season scoring 22 points on 8-of-18 shooting with one 3. Beljwok Adiang came up one board shy of a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds. Triston Conger made his return to the lineup after missing several games to injury, scoring 11 points with three assists. Keyshawn Robinson also finished in double figures with 10 points.

The Patriots (24-3, 9-2 MSC) finished the game shooting 48.4% from the field with six 3s. The Cumberlands made 22 of 27 free throws and outrebounded the Phoenix 45-31.

Six Patriots ended in double figures led by Anthony Johnson off the bench with 19. DJ Jones added 14, JJ Ramey scored 13, big man Harry Morrice posted 12 points and 10 boards and Matt Cromer had 10 points. Brady Bell added in 12 off the bench as well.

Conger, after missing the last several games, stepped right back in and delivered a triple to open up the game. But three straight Patriot buckets gave them a 6-3 lead. The Phoenix tied it with a 3 from Hunter Wattenbarger, but the Patriots answered with a 3 of their own for a 9-6 lead after five minutes.

In a tight game at 15-13, the Cumberlands started getting some momentum and extending the lead and pushed it all the way out to 13 points leading 37-24 with 6:46 left in the half.

After that, Cumberland cut it to six points, but the Patriots pulled away up 11 at the break 46-35.

The Phoenix chipped away a the lead in the second half. Trailing 58-49, Cumberland went on a 7-0 run to get it within one possession, but the Patriots hit a big 3 and added a free throw to push it back out to six. Three points from Braxton Caruthers on a free throw and a layup put it within three again, but the Cumberlands went on a 7-0 run to get up by double figures.

The Cumberlands held on to that lead for the rest of the game winning 88-74.

The Phoenix are back at home today for the final regular season game of the season against No. 23 Georgetown. Senior Day festivities will take place prior to the 3 p.m. game.