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Cumberland holds on for 63-58 win at No. 2 Shawnee

November 17, 2012
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By Jo Jo Freeman, Cumberland (Tenn.) Sports Information Director

LEBANON, Tenn. - Cumberland (Tenn.) opened a big lead in the first half and then held on for a 63-58 victory over second-ranked Shawnee State (Ohio), ending SSU's 20-game home winning streak on Saturday at Walter Gymnasium in Shawnee, Ohio.

Briannica Tye made two free throws with 4.4 seconds remaining to seal the win for the Bulldogs (6-0, 2-0 Mid-South) after London Elie scored twice in the final three minutes to help CU keep the lead. Tye finished with 11 points, including 6-of-8 at the foul line, along with nine assists and eight rebounds for the 5-foot-3 guard.

Casie Cowan added 14 points with four 3-pointers off the bench, as Cumberland battled foul trouble and a big run by the Bears to hold on for the road victory. The Bulldogs were whistled for 25 fouls and Shawnee State converted 29-for-34 free throws to stay in the contest.

The two teams shot a combined 28 percent (35-of-124) with 95 total rebounds. The Bulldogs raced out to a 35-20 advantage at the half after the Bears (6-1, 1-1) made only three field goals in the first period. TaCouya Allen and Cowan each scored eight points for CU and Cowan netted the final five during a 15-4 run early in the contest that gave Cumberland a 22-10 advantage. Allen and Cowan made consecutive 3-pointers for a 35-18 lead just before the break.

But the Bears began the second half with a 19-6 run thanks to eight points from Alex Pohl and five by Schera Sampson, cutting the CU lead to 41-39 at the 13-minute mark. Cowan hit two straight trifectas to push the advantage back to eight and the Bulldogs never lost the lead, but were ahead by five or less almost the entire rest of the way.

Elie's bucket with 3:12 remaining gave the Bulldogs a 57-52 edge but Sampson answered with the field goal on SSU's next possession. Jessica Pace made two free throws for CU before Pohl made two foul shots for the Bears. Allen and Josette Campbell missed 3-pointers and Pohl's bucket with a minute left cut the lead to 59-58.

Elie scored again with 45 seconds left and Tye made a steal on the other end but was called for traveling on a break-away layup, trying to fake out the only defender. Alannah Sheets missed a 3-pointer for SSU, Tye grabbed the rebound and made two foul shots to seal the victory for CU.

Pace finished with eight points and a team-high 10 rebounds while Elie recorded eight points in just 10 minutes of action because of foul trouble. Simone Ryan grabbed eight boards off the bench and had five points despite 2-of-10 shooting.

Pohl led all players with 22 points and 20 rebounds, going 14-for-14 at the foul line while Sampson finished with 17 points and 10 boards in spite of 4-for-19 shooting. Sheets added 11 points for the Bears.

"All of the credit goes to these kids. They are a great group and fight tooth and nail," head coach Jeremy Lewis said. "You could really see a change in [the team's] mentality last season and we've carried that over and now every time we hit the floor, they expect to win. We played a great first half, making shots, and then really fought through some adversity when the whistle wasn't blowing our way in the second half."

Cumberland plays its third consecutive conference game to open the league schedule on Tuesday at 18th-ranked University of the Cumberlands.