Phoenix snap skid with OT win

Jan. 31—Cumberland’s men gutted out a 67-65 overtime win over Shawnee State last Saturday, snapping a three-game losing streak inside a great basketball atmosphere at the Dallas Floyd Phoenix Arena/Cliff Ellis Court.

The Phoenix (11-11, 8-9 Mid-South Conference) came through in clutch time to tie the game in regulation and then to win it in the closing seconds. They finished at 40.9% from the field with seven 3-pointers.

Five Phoenix finished in double figures led by Jaylen Negron with 15 points. Mt. Juliet’s Isaac Stephens recorded his first double-double of the season and hit the game-tying basket to end regulation, finishing with 11 points and 10 boards. Jordan Stephens posted 13 points and the game-winning bucket with 11 seconds to play.

Tyler Byrd came off the bench for 12 points and Ty’Reek Johnson battled for 10 points and five rebounds.

Shawnee State (14-9, 10-7 MSC) had big games from Brandon Beavers, Latavious Mitchell and Felix Uadiale, but it wasn’t enough to stop a determined Cumberland team. The Bears shot 36.9% from the field with seven threes also and dominated the glass with 49 rebounds to Cumberland’s 35.

Beavers went for a game-high 21 points with eight rebounds and four dimes. Mitchell added 14 with eight rebounds. Uadiale also had 14 points and eight rebounds.

Jordan Stephens scored the first five points for the Phoenix, but that was all Cumberland would scrounge in the first four minutes of action. But CU held the Bears to just five as well over the stretch as both teams worked themselves into the rhythm of the game.

Negron scored on an and-one before Stephens hit a tough two. Negron then buried a triple from the top of the key to put Cumberland up 13-8.

Leading 15-14, The Phoenix were able to build up a nine-point lead at the second media timeout on a 9-1 run sparked by a fastbreak dunk by Stephens.

Cumberland continued to light up from the field scoring the next five points to force the Bears into their third timeout of the half down 29-15.

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Shawnee State responded after the timeout with an 8-2 run to close the half with the Phoenix leading 31-23.

The Bears came out of the locker room ready to go in the second half starting the half on a 8-2 run to cut it to 33-31. Cumberland finally got something going when Braxton Caruthers found Negron in transition for a two to push it back out to a two-possession lead.

Cumberland pushed that out to a six-point lead at 41-35 and held that margin to 47-41 after Byrd netted a triple.

The Bears came storming right back with another 7-0 spurt for SSU to go up 48-47 with 8:32 to play. From there it was point-for-point all the way to a 56-55 game with two minutes to play. Isaac Stephens netted two from the line to put the Phoenix up by one. The Bears answered with a deep three to go up two and Stephens powered his way to tie the game again with 51 seconds.

Shawnee State went up by two again on a tip-in from Uadiale and Stephens again gave the team life with a 2 through contact to tie it with 20 seconds. The Phoenix picked up a stop on a last-second 3 and a chance for the Bears to win.

The overtime period was very physical throughout. Negron sank the first basket of the period, but the Bears answered. Jordan Stephens put Cumberland back up by two with a layup, and again Shawnee State answered. With 30 seconds left, Coleman dished it to Jordan Stephens for the game-winner. The Phoenix did not allow a shot on Shawnee State’s final possession to come away with the hard-fought 67-65 win in overtime.

The Phoenix will be back in action today for their final non-conference game of the season against Oakwood in Huntsville, Ala., to begin a five-game road swing before the Feb. 18 season finale against Freed-Hardeman at the Phoenix Arena.

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