LEBANON, Tenn. – Graciano Negron posted a career high 20 points and three other Bulldogs scored in double figures as Cumberland University opened TranSouth Conference play with an 80-73 victory over Lyon College Thursday night at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.
Cumberland (5-6, 1-0 TranSouth) defeated the Scots for the seventh straight time and extended its season-opening home winning streak to four games. The Bulldogs have not lost to Lyon (6-6, 0-1) on their home floor since 2003.
Negron, whose previous personal best was 14 points against Oakwood University, shot 6-of-13 from the floor, including a pair of 3-pointers, and added six free throws on a dozen trips to the line. The sophomore earned Music City Star of the Game honors.
Walter Simon totaled 14 points with 10 coming from the charity stripe as the Bulldogs attempted 40 free throws in a contest that had 51 total fouls, including three technicals.
Michael Sweat and Trey Caruthers each scored 11 points, while Lamar Brinkley was two points shy of a double-double, pulling down a game-high 10 rebounds.
After Lyon dropped a 3-pointer early for the first points of the game, the Bulldogs scored six straight, five of which came from Simon.
The Dresden, Germany, native’s first two points came on free throws after LC coach Kevin Jenkins received a technical foul just 47 seconds into the game. Simon also added a trio of points on a three-point play to end the stretch.
Cumberland later used a 16-5 run midway through the period to begin to pull away, extending the Bulldogs’ lead to a dozen points before the visitors scored 16 of the last 23 points to make it a three-point game at the break.
CU came out strong in the second half, using a 9-2 span to put the lead back into double digits. After Lyon cut the deficit to eight points, Caruthers knocked down one of his two 3-pointers and was called for a technical foul on his way back down the court.
Following the Kingston Springs, Tenn., native’s trey, Cumberland failed to convert a field goal over the next 5:26, but managed to keep the Scots at bay with six free throws.
CU’s next basket came from Sweat, who knocked down a 3-pointer of his own to give the Bulldogs an 11-point lead.
After Lyon came back to within three points, Cumberland used a Negron dunk and seven more free throws to close out the victory. Negron was tabbed the Music City Star of the Game for his efforts.
Andy Lee scored a game-high 24 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead Lyon.
Cumberland continues conference play Saturday at 4 p.m., when the Bulldogs travel to No. 25 Freed-Hardeman.