Cumberland’s second-half rally falls short
LEBANON, Tenn. – Brandon Springer pumped in 22 second-half points, but the effort wasn’t enough to help Cumberland University erase a 14-point halftime deficit Friday night as the Bulldogs dropped an 86-82 decision to host West Virginia Tech on the first day of the Baisi Classic.
CU (2-7) found itself playing from behind early as the Golden Bears used a 16-2 run in 3:34 to eliminate an early 4-1 Bulldog lead. Cumberland battled back, getting to within a basket of retaking the lead in the first half before West Virginia Tech (8-2) closed strong before intermission. The home team scored 21 of the last 30 points before the break.
After the Golden Bears stretched the lead to 15 points, their largest of the contest, Springer led the comeback as he scored 13 points over the next 11 minutes to cut the deficit to one. A pair of free throws by Lamar Brinkley then gave the Bulldogs the lead at 66-65.
The advantage lasted just 40 seconds as West Virginia Tech retook the lead with a pair of layups off of CU turnovers. Cumberland forced one more tie, at 71 apiece, on one of Andrew Ayodeji’s two 3-pointers before the Golden Bears closed out the victory. The Bulldogs connected on seven shots from behind the arc, their most since opening the season with nine treys against Oakwood University.
Springer finished a season highs in points and rebounds with 37 and 15, respectively, notching his seventh double-double of the season. Three other Bulldog starters ended the game with double-digit scoring totals. Haris Batalevic totaled a dozen, including three 3-pointers, while Ayodeji contributed 11 and Walter Simon chipped in 10.
West Virginia Tech, which shot 56 percent from the floor, was led by Roi Buchbinder’s 20 points.
Cumberland will face Daemen College Saturday at noon on the final day of the Classic.