MCKENZIE, Tenn. – Caleb Hardy posted 21 points and 13 rebounds and Bethel won the battle of the boards, 47-30, defeating 23rd-ranked Cumberland, 76-66, in men’s basketball action here Monday night at Dishman Gymnasium.
The Bulldogs (12-4, 4-1 TranSouth) didn’t do much right on either end of the floor, shooting just 31 percent in the second half and missing numerous easy buckets around the goal. CU also did not defend or rebound well, with the Wildcats (12-6, 2-2) shooting 46 percent for the game and grabbing 14 offensive rebounds that led to 13 second-chance points.
Hardy, a 6-4 small forward, did a little of everything, making 7-of-13 from the field and at the foul line. George Coleman added 19 points and Stephen Gillette and Jarvis Palmer both netted 10 points for Bethel. Gillette added seven rebounds while Josh Swing came off the bench to post eight points and five boards.
Cumberland finished just 6-for-23 from behind the arc and no Bulldog player scored in double figures. Daniel McFadden recorded all nine of his points in the first half, Michael Sweat finished with nine points and Lamar Brinkley and Johnny Williams both netted eight points.
The Bulldogs went more than five minutes without a field goal in the second half and the Wildcats put together a 14-4 run during the stretch, with Coleman hitting a pair of 3-pointers and Hardy adding four points. CU came back within 54-52 after an Andrew Ayodeji field goal with 8:39 to play, but Bethel reeled off eight consecutive points, including six straight points by Gillette. Cumberland never cut the deficit to less than five the rest of the way.
Cumberland started very slowly offensively, making just 3-of-13 shots to start the contest. The Bethel offense was running with precision on the other end, with leading scorer Coleman netting 10 points in the period, including a pair of 3-pointers.
McFadden kept CU in the contest with nine points off the bench, including a pair of buckets in the final three minutes Brinkley made his first 3-pointer of the season with 19 seconds remaining and then made a steal on the other end, as CU went to the locker room down 37-34.
The Bulldogs take on Union University at home on Thursday at 8 p.m. and hosts ninth-ranked Martin Methodist at 4 p.m. on Saturday.