PIKEVILLE – With hot shooting from the field, Cumberlands handed the top-ranked University of Pikeville men’s basketball team its first loss at home in 48 tries.
Led by a game-high 30 points from D’Lando Carter off the bench, the Patriots won 78-72 on Thursday in the East Kentucky Expo Center.
K.K. Simmons hit four threes to lead UPIKE with 22 points, but the Bears shot just 41.1 percent from the field, compared to a 56.1 percent showing by the Patriots, including 63.3 percent in the first half (19-30).
UPIKE (10-0, 1-1 MSC) shot better from long distance than inside the arc, nailing 6-of-13 3-pointers, but 14 turnovers with just seven assists didn’t help its cause.
In the early going the Bears were in control, turning a 16-15 lead into a 27-17 advantage over a three-minute span. But during the final 10 minutes of the first half, things started going in the Patriots’ favor as they outscored the Bears 27-9 to take an eight-point lead into halftime.
That lead grew as high as 10 points when Tre Boutilier sank a pair of free throws to start the second half, but UPIKE had a Christian Leach fueled comeback left in it.
Down by five with less than 12 minutes to play, the senior swiped a steal in the paint and drove the distance for a layup, converted another fast-break layup off a Patriot miss and got a steal and layup in the backcourt to put the Bears up 54-53.
The 6-0 run by Leach produced the first UPIKE lead since it was 29-27 with six minutes left in the first half.
Once UPIKE got back in the game, it remained a one-possession contest for much of the remainder. With 2:37 on the clock, Macari Brooks got loose for a runner in the paint to cut the Patriots’ lead to three at 70-67, but Carter answered right back with a tough jumper on the other end.
Simmons missed from three on UPIKE’s next trip, allowing Carter to nail another dagger with a three to push the deficit to eight. The Bears could only get as close as six points from there as they went 1 for 4 from the field in the final 30 seconds.
Brooks joined Simmons in double figures with 15 points and Leach added 15 points as well off the bench.
Reserves played a big role for the Patriots (7-3, 1-1 MSC) as they outscored UPIKE’s bench 47-20. Cumberlands also made the Bears’ giveaways hurt with a 15-6 advantage in points off turnovers.
UPIKE will have an 11-day break before returning to action at 7 p.m. ET on Dec. 21 against Carlow (Pa.) in the East Kentucky Expo Center.