Bulldogs fall 72-59

JACKSON -- Cumberland University dropped a 72-59 decision to 16th-ranked Union Thursday night in TranSouth Conference men’s basketball action at Fred DeLay Gymnasium.

Cumberland (8-8, 4-2 TranSouth) began ice cold, starting the game 0-for-8 from the field with a pair of turnovers before Graciano Negron made the Bulldogs’ basket of the game 4:21 into the contest. By that point, Union had a 10-0 lead and looked to be in control of the contest.

The visiting Bulldogs started chipping away and eventually cut it to a two-point game with 6:20 left in the opening half as Lamar Brinkley made a bucket in the lane. From there CU kept it close the remainder of the first half.

CU was back in it in the final minute of the period as Terry Williams put back a Kyle Upton miss to knot the game at 31 apiece. A pair of free throws on Union’s next possession gave the home team a two-point lead at the break.

Cumberland kept it between a two- and six-point deficit through the first several minutes of the second half and had a chance to cut Union’s lead to a single point, but Negron missed a layup and the home team knocked down a 3-pointer on the other end. UU (16-4, 5-1) was 7-for-20 from behind the arc.

Union, which went to the foul line 39 times, put the dagger in CU with a four-point play with 4:52 left on the clock. CJ Davis, who scored 20 points off the bench, was fouled by Lindal Yarbrough after releasing a 3-pointer. His free throw put Cumberland in a 12-point hole and the Bulldogs never got any closer than seven after that.

Negron led the Bulldogs with 18 points and was two boards shy of a double-double. Kyle Upton was the only other CU player in double figures with 13 points.

Cumberland faces another tough road contest on Saturday when the Bulldogs travel to No. 6 Martin Methodist at 4 p.m.