MAYFIELD, Ky. – Trey Caruthers scored a career-high 20 points and helped Cumberland University overcome its worst shooting performance of the year to close out the regular season with a 58-52 victory over Mid-Continent University at the Mayfield High School Sports Arena Saturday afternoon.
Cumberland (17-11, 11-5 TranSouth Conference) host Bethel University next Thursday at 7 p.m. in the quarterfinal round of the TranSouth Championships.
The Bulldogs shot just 28.9 percent, including going 0-for-12 over the first 10 1/2 minutes of the second half. But Cumberland closed the game making six of its last eight and 12-of-15 from the free throw line to hold off the Cougars.
Caruthers’ double-digit effort was the fifth of the year and second in three games. Graciano Negron added 11 points for the Bulldogs, while Lamar Brinkley grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.
After controlling much of the first half and taking a six-point lead into the locker room, Cumberland started off the second half ice cold, failing to score a point in the first six minutes and going not adding a field goal for another four.
By the time Caruthers got a layup midway through the second half, Mid-Continent (10-13, 4-12) had a five-point lead, which CU erased two minutes later at the free throw line. After Lindal Yarbrough was fouled on a shot, MCU’s Chris Ferguson was whistled for his second technical foul of the game.
Walter Simon took the free throws on the technical, missing the first, before Yarbrough knocked down both of his shots, giving the lead back to Cumberland for the final time.
The Bulldogs pushed their lead out to eight points but Mid-Continent wouldn’t go away thanks to a Tim Bryant bucket and pair of 3-pointers from Tyler Huston. Huston missed a shot from downtown with five seconds left that would have brought the home team within a point.
Two free throws from Simon sealed the victory for CU. The sophomore from Dresden, Germany, finished with seven points, marking the third straight games he has failed to reach double figures.
Cumberland used a 10-0 run early in the contest to open an eight-point lead and, after Mid-Continent closed the gap to one, the Bulldogs had another 9-0 spurt.
The second stretch started with a Michael Sweat layup that started on the other end of the floor. Negron blocked a shot and Yarbrough picked up the rebound taking it to the Cumberland basket before dishing to Sweat.
After Negron sank a 3-pointer, the sophomore gave the Bulldogs a 22-14 lead with a nice reverse layup off a Josh Pierce assist.
Cumberland turned 22 Cougar fouls into 24 points at the free throw line, shooting 73 percent for the game. The Bulldogs were outrebounded by MCU 46-43.