Big performance the difference in No. 6 UPIKE’s loss to Cumberland

PIKEVILLE, Ky. -- Charles Sweatt-Washington scored 22 points in the first half on 9-of-9 shooting before finishing with 26 and leading Cumberland (Tenn.) past the sixth-ranked University of Pikeville men’s basketball team 89-85 on Thursday night.

Apart from the stellar performance, you won’t find many big advantages either way in this one.

The Phoenix (8-8, 1-1 MSC) edged the Bears (16-1, 1-1 MSC) from the field 52-50 percent, both teams made 20 free throws and the teams were exactly even in points in the paint and off of turnovers. To find where the four-point win came from, you look at Cumberland making two extra 3-pointers (9-7) and controlling the backboards 34-29.

Darrion Leslie gave everything he had with 15 points, seven rebounds and seven assists on a night where he had to play 37 minutes with two key contributors not on the floor. Jayvian Delacruz was right here with him, adding 17 points and six boards off the bench. Michael Chambers provided a boost as well with three 3-pointers to finish with a season-best 15 points.

Sweatt-Washington made four 3s during his big opening half to go along with six rebounds and two blocks for the game. Diondrey Holt Jr., came up big as well, adding 17 points and making back-to-back 3s with 2:48 to play, taking a 77-77 tie to a six-point Cumberland lead.

After falling behind by one with 13:29 to play, the Bears went on a 12-2 run in just over two minutes to take a nine-point lead on Leslie’s dunk with 10:48 left. This is after UPIKE had trailed for 15 minutes, spanning two halves, before clawing back to tie the score at 50-50 with an 8-0 spurt early in the second half.

But with as much energy as Leslie’s slam brought to the arena, it dissipated just as quickly as Cumberland answered right back with a 9-0 run of its own to tie the score once again. There would be three more ties the rest of the way until Holt Jr.’s 3 with 2:48 on the clock gave the Phoenix the lead for good.

UPIKE had a few more exciting moments, including Chambers following two makes from the stripe with a steal in the back court, but his ensuing 3-pointer missed the mark, which would’ve made it a one-point game with less than two minutes left.

Shortly after that Leslie got loose for a layup to make it a two-point game with 20 seconds on the clock, but the Bears couldn’t get a steal and Rhyan Townes made two free throws as time ran out on a comeback for UPIKE.

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