Braxton's big plays save Bulldogs
LEBANON, Tenn. – Rontreal Braxton had a steal and bucket with three seconds to play to put Cumberland ahead and then blocked a potential game-winning shot, helping the Bulldogs avoid a second-half letdown and defeat Mid-Continent University, 69-68, Saturday in men’s basketball action in Mayfield, Ky.
Cumberland (12-2, 3-1 TSAC) led by 10 points at the half before Mid-Continent used an 11-2 run to take a 52-51 advantage. TiRon Peoples hit two free throws with 8:25 remaining and Jerry Follot followed with a field goal.
Braxton connected on two foul shots for the Bulldogs, but Aaron Pearson hit one free throw for MCU and Peoples had a bucket. Donovan Willis completed the stretch with a field goal at 6:57 for a one-point Cougars advantage.
Mid-Continent stretched its lead to as many as five points in the final minutes. Quentin Turner made a 3-pointer for CU with 2:27 remaining to cut the deficit to 66-64 and Jamar Finley’s free throw made it a one-point game with 1:38 left.
But Keiran Nunley extended the lead back to three for Mid-Continent with a bucket. Ahmed Abdelhamid hit two free throws for the Bulldogs with 47 seconds remaining before Braxton’s steal in the final seconds led to the winning basket.
Pearson had one final shot for Mid-Continent, racing up the floor, but his Braxton hustled back on defense and blocked the shot with five-tenths of a second remaining. MCU’s final shot was no good, preserving the Cumberland victory.
Braxton led the Bulldogs with 16 points and Thomas Douglas added 11, nine in the first half, but CU put itself in a whole in the contest by committing 26 turnovers.
Mid-Continent shot 55 percent in the second half after making just 25 percent of its shots in the opening period. Peoples led the Cougars with 19 points and nine rebounds. Nunley added 16 points and Pearson had 10.
CU put together a 17-4 run in the early going to take a 19-9 advantage. Douglas hit a 3-pointer and Simms converted a layup and then hit two free throws for a four-point play. Braxton and Douglas both had 3-pointers to end the stretch.
The Cougars would get as close as six at one point but Cumberland extended its lead to as many as 14 points at 32-18 after a Channing Tucker 3-pointer with 4:04 left in the half. Mid-Continent scored six of the final eight points of the half for a 34-24 Bulldogs advantage at intermission.
Cumberland hosts a pair of games next week, facing Lyon College Monday at 8 p.m. and then taking on Lambuth Thursday at 8 p.m.