The University of the Cumberlands (UC) Men's Basketball team got off to a hot start in 2013, winning two home games against strong Mid-South Conference (MSC) opponents in flashy style. The Patriots crushed the Tigers of Georgetown on Thursday 99-74, while strong team defense came through in the end to give them the victory over the Patriots of St. Catharine 81-79 on Saturday. With both wins, the #2 Patriots move to 15-1 on the season and 6-0 in conference action.
On Thursday, the Patriots got after the Tigers from Georgetown right from the start, moving the ball quickly on offense and attacking the offensive boards from all positions. The Patriots found themselves only up by 4 points at the half, sparking a fire in them to come out even stronger in the second half. With flashy transition basketball and tenacious defense, the Patriots went on a tremendous run ultimately pushing them to a 28 point lead with 2 minutes remaining in the game. The Patriots were led by Antonio Bumpus (Columbus, OH) who had a career high 33 points on the night on 11-17 shooting. Ernie McCoy (Columbus, OH) had another strong performance putting up 18 points of his own and dishing out 7 assists, while Shaquille Lowery (East Moline, IL) chipped in 17 points and 6 assists. As a team, the Patriots out-rebounded the Tigers 42-36 and shot a solid 51% from the field. This win over Georgetown goes down as they largest victory over the Tigers in the last 30 years.
On Saturday afternoon, the Patriots faced a tough battle against the Patriots of St. Catharine, proving to the nation just why they are the #2 team in the nation. While St. Catharine clawed their way back to the final seconds of the game, the Patriots remained calm and were able to close out St. Catharine at the buzzer with fantastic team defense and a stellar block by Antonio Bumpus. With 8 lead changes and 7 ties, Cumberlands was able to hold on and come away with the 81-79 victory. The Patriots were led by Benito Santiago Jr. (Coamo, Puerto Rico), who not only scored 25 points and grabbed 7 rebounds, but who also had a rim-rocking dunk to bring down the house in the first half of play. McCoy chipped in with 15 points of his own on the night, while Bumpus finished with 13 points and the game-saving block.
The Patriots look to further their success this week as the travel to Pikeville to battle the #4 ranked Bears Thursday at 8:00 pm. UC will then close out the week at UVA-Wise on Saturday as they face the Cavs at 4:00 pm.
For more information on the Patriot men's basketball program along with other Patriot athletics, please visit www.cumberlandspatriots.com.
Article provided by Stephanie Quattrociocchi, UC Multimedia and Athletic Services Graduate Assistant