Cumberland outlasts Lyon on the road
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Cumberland outlasts Lyon on the road
Graciano Negron totaled 17 points and eight rebounds to lead CU Thursday.

BATESVILLE, Ark. – Graciano Negron scored 17 points and three other Bulldogs scored in double figures as Cumberland University held off Lyon College, 79-72, to open the second half of TranSouth Conference play Thursday night at Becknell Gymnasium.


In addition to his team-leading point total, Negron also pulled down a game-best eight rebounds, while CU teammates Walter Simon, Michael Sweat and Josh Pierce added 16, 12 and 10 points, respectively.


The Bulldogs (12-9, 6-3 TranSouth) led by nine in the first half and kept the charging Scots from regaining the lead in the second half as Lyon got within a point three times, including 73-72 with 1:13 to play, but Cumberland kept the home team off the scoreboard for the remainder of the contest, closing with six straight points. The final points came on an emphatic dunk when Pierce grabbed a long rebound and took an uncontested run toward the basket, throwing it down with 0.2 seconds left on the clock.


Lyon (7-14, 1-8) put up a fight in the second half after a back-and-forth opening that saw Cumberland take the lead for good with nine minutes left before intermission.


After shooting 58.6 percent in the first half, the Bulldogs struggled after the break, posting 39.1 percent from the floor, including 16.7 from 3-point range. CU started the half shooting just 2-of-5 and committed six turnovers in the first five minutes.


Cumberland eventually pushed its lead back out to seven with a quick 6-0 run before the Scots began to claw their way back in. After LC closed to within a point with 73 seconds left, Lamar Brinkley posted up a Scot defender and banked in a shot. Negron added two free throws before Pierce’s dunk that made the final score.


The lead changing hands eight times in the first 11 minutes of the contest as the two teams were streaky. Cumberland had runs of 8-0, 9-0 and 10-2, while the Scots produced a 9-2 stretch.


The Bulldogs were down by three when Graciano Negron converted an old-fashioned three-point play to start the 8-0 span, which put Cumberland on top 15-11.


Lyon immediately began its run with a pair of free throws on its next possession. CU snapped the streak with a Kyle Upton 3-pointer from the left corner.


Trailing 25-20 Upton hit another trey as the Bulldogs started a stretch of nine straight points and 19 of the next 23 to build a nine-point lead, its largest of the first half. Upton finished with six points in the contest.


CU scored 42 points in the paint, including 26 in the opening half. The Bulldogs outrebounded Lyon 38-27 and turned a dozen offensive boards into 12 second-chance points.


The Bulldogs return home Saturday at 4 p.m. to take on Freed-Hardeman University. The Lions defeated Cumberland 66-64 in Henderson last month.