LEBANON, Tenn. – Martin Methodist started fast, ended the first half on a 15-3 run and never looked back, as the ninth-ranked RedHawks defeated Cumberland, 84-69, in men’s basketball action Saturday at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.
The Bulldogs (12-6, 4-3 TranSouth) dropped their third straight game overall and second consecutive at home after starting the year 7-0 at the DFRC. CU shot just 35 percent, committed 12 turnovers and trailed 44-25 at the end of the first half.
The RedHawks (15-4, 5-1) were never threatened after intermission, keeping the lead between 16 and 23 until the final minute of the game. LaQuantis Stewart led four MMC players in double figures with 18 points, while James Justice and Jeremy Rodgers both netted 17 and Ree McCrory posted 13. Demario Williams added nine points and tied EJ Kirby for high honors with seven rebounds.
Jerret Towns paced the Bulldogs with 12 points and seven boards off the bench. Charles Stewart and Andrew Ayodeji both recorded 10 points and Stewart added three assists.
MMC led 11-2 and 16-5 in the early going thanks to seven points from McCrory, including a pair of free throws before the opening tip after a CU player dunked during warm-ups. The Bulldogs pulled within six points on two occasions and trailed 29-22 after a Josh Pierce bucket with 4:18 left in the half, but the RedHawks put together a 15-3 spurt to end the period.
Justice started the run with a 3-pointer and David Champagnie hit six free throws, the final two 34 seconds before intermission, giving MMC a 44-25 advantage at the break.
Cumberland shot 55 percent from the field in the second half but could never mount a run against the RedHawks, who at times beat CU up the floor for easy baskets even after Bulldog makes.
Cumberland hosts Oakwood University on Monday at 8 p.m. before traveling to Fisk University on Thursday and Mid-Continent next Saturday.