LEBANON, Tenn. – Six Bulldogs scored in double figures, including Michael Sweat, who posted his second career double-double, as Cumberland University used 37 free throws to hold off TranSouth Conference foe Freed-Hardeman, 90-81, Saturday at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.
The Bulldogs (13-9, 7-3 TranSouth) stayed perfect at home through nine games and remain in fourth place in the league, but pulled within 1 1/2 games of conference leader Martin Methodist College. The win also avenged a two-point loss last month in Henderson, a game in which the Lions closed the game on a 23-6 run.
Sweat, who was named the Music City Star of the Game, posted 16 points and 11 rebounds and Kyle Upton tied a career-high with 16 points. Trey Caruthers set a new personal best with 13 points, while Graciano Negron’s 13 points gave him double figures for the 10th time in the last 12 games. Walter Simon notched his 18th double-digit performance of the year with a dozen points and Lindal Yarbrough reached 10 points for the second time in three outings.
Cumberland was running away with the contest before a 13-0 run by the Lions (16-8, 8-2) kept the home team off the scoreboard for nearly five minutes. During the FHU run, the Bulldogs missed both of their field goal attempts and turned the ball over six times, including five straight trips down the court.
Fortunately for CU, the Bulldogs held a 23-point advantage when the scoreless stretch began.
Cumberland’s final 28 points came from the free throw line, where the Bulldogs shot 37-of-43, including 32-of-37 in the second half. CU made 22 of its first 23 foul shot attempts after halftime. The two teams were whistled for a combined 50 fouls, many of which came intentionally by FHU in the final six minutes of the game.
CU started the game strong, never trailing and building a double-digit lead less than seven minutes into the contest on a 3-pointer from Trey Caruthers. The Bulldogs made six of their first 10 shots and limited the visitors to 2-of-9 shooting in the same time period.
The Lions cut the deficit to eight points twice, but a Michael Sweat jumper with 10:35 to play in the opening half gave CU a double-digit lead for the remainder of the half.
Cumberland extended its lead to 17 points on back-to-back 3-pointers from Kyle Upton. The junior started the game 3-for-3 from downtown.
The Bulldogs shot 47 percent from the floor and outrebounded Freed-Hardeman 40-29.
Cumberland hosts Blue Mountain Thursday night at 8 p.m. The Bulldogs defeated BMC, 58-48, last month on the road.