RedStorm Comeback Falls Short Against Cumberland

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The RedStorm and Bulldogs battled hard all game long but the game ultimately came down to a last-second shot by D.D. Joiner.  Cumberland University’s Lester Gude blocked a would-be game winning 3-point attempt by Joiner as time expired, sealing the Bulldogs' 74-72 victory over the RedStorm Thursday night in the Mid-South Conference men’s basketball opener for both schools. 

Cumberland (5-0) remains perfect on the season and improved its overall mark to 5-0 on the season while Rio Grande (3-2) suffered its second straight loss. 

The Bulldogs trailed by eight points early in the game but quickly fought back and went on a 15-0 run. Cumberland continued to fight in the second half, surviving numerous second half runs by the RedStorm and ultimately survived a wild finish at the buzzer to remain unbeaten. 

Rio Grande trailed, 14-11, six minutes into the game. The RedStorm caught fire and reeled off 13 of the next 15 points to take a 24-16 lead following a 3-pointer by junior guard Evan Legg with nine minutes remaining in the first half.

This hot streak quickly came to a halt, as the RedStorm went cold and did not score again for the next seven minutes of play. The Bulldogs went on a 15-0 run of their own to open up a 31-24 lead with 2:32 remaining before halftime.

Rio Grande rallied with the next seven points to tie the game at 31 with 1:25 remaining but Cumberland responded with a 7-0 streak to end the half.

Even though the RedStorm closed the deficit to one on four occasions in the second half, they struggled to tie or regain the lead.

Cumberland led by eight points twice in the second half and held a comfortable 74-68 lead with 15.4 seconds left to play but a comeback storm was brewing in Newt Oliver Arena. 

Senior guard Jermaine Warmack hit a pair of free throws with 12.7 seconds left to make the score 74-70. After a turnover by the Bulldogs on the following inbounds play, a layup by Travis Elliot set the RedStorm within 74-72 with 6.1 seconds to play. 

After being fouled with 5.2 seconds remaining, Gude had a chance to secure a Bulldogs victory but he missed both of his free throws. 

Joiner snagged the rebound of the missed free throw, sprinted down the right sideline and fired a 3-point shot attempt, but Gude hustled to the ball and denied Joiner’s shot as time expired.

Gude led the Bulldogs in the scoring department with 16 points. Marquel Hickerson and Moritz Dern each had eight rebounds on the night.

Warmack scored a game-high 22 points in the loss for Rio Grande. Sophomore forward Phillip Hertz finished with 14 points, while Evan Legg netted 13.

Freshman forward Bilal Young had a game-high 10 rebounds for the RedStorm.

Rio Grande will host No. 10 Lindsey Wilson on Saturday night. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. at the Newt Oliver Arena.