PIKEVILLE – Chris Cantino tallied a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds to help the No. 1 University of Pikeville men’s basketball team battle past Cumberland (Tenn.) 82-68 on Saturday at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
The Bears were outrebounded for just the second time this season (42-40), but made up for it with nine 3-pointers at 52.9 percent, while holding Cumberland to just 38.5 percent from the field for the game.
Bruce Reed added 19 points and four boards, while Elisha Justice added 12 points. Keala King had a balanced day with 11 points, seven rebounds, four assists, a block and a steal.
Josh Wilkerson paced Cumberland with 14 points and three steals and Lamar Brinkley added 10 points and a team-best nine rebounds.
Wilkerson got the Bulldogs (11-4, 3-3 MSC) going early with three drives to the basket to give them an 8-7 lead five minutes in. It prompted Reed to go to work for an and-one layup and King backed him up with a fade away jumper to take a 14-11 lead.
UPIKE (14-1, 5-0 MSC) used that momentum to go on a 7-0 run that saw it up 21-11 before Gude ended the run with a layup. The Bears continued to grow their lead to 32-18 with 7:34 left in the half on a three from Colt Chapman.
John Nunnally’s free throws with 5:06 left in the half made it a 17-point game, but the Bulldogs would get as close as 13 on Brinkley’s free throws before the Bears took a 45-30 lead into the break.
Both teams shot a similar percentage from the field, with UPIKE at 46 percent and Cumberland shooting 42 percent in the half, but the Bears hit four more 3-pointers and five more free throws to build their advantage.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Justice and Reed made it 57-37 for UPIKE at the start of the second half, but Brinkley went to work down low for the Bulldogs over the next six minutes, scoring six points to help close the gap to 12.
Frazier’s layup made it a single-digit deficit for the first time since it was 21-13. Now with 4:14 left to play, the Bulldogs were within nine at 68-59. However, Cumberland wouldn’t get any closer as Reed knocked down a three and Cantino added a jumper in the final two minutes to go back up by 15.
UPIKE will look to keep its Mid-South Conference momentum rolling as it is back in action at 8 p.m. on Thursday at Georgetown (Ky.).