Cumberlands Wins NAIA National Tourney Opener

Kansas City, Mo. - The University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) bolted to a 39-25 halftime lead and was never threatened in an 81-65 victory over Jarvis Christian College (Texas) in game nine of the 2009 Buffalo Funds NAIA Division I Men's National Basketball Tournament at Municipal Auditorium Thursday morning.

The Patriots, seeded No. 11 in the tournament, limited the Bulldogs to nine field goals and forced 12 turnovers in building their first half advantage. Jarvis Christian shot 32.1 percent from the field and was 0 for 5 from beyond the arc in the opening 20 minutes, Meanwhile, Cumberlands connected on 41 percent of its field goal attempts despite being two of nine from the 3-point stripe.

The second half was much the same as Cumberlands' Chad Byron drained a pair of 3-pointers to start the second half and the Bulldogs were never able to mount a comeback. Jarvis Christian shot slightly better in the second half, making 37.1 percent of its shots but the Patriots answered with 48.4 percent shooting in the half and 44.4 percent for the game.

Josh Phillips led four Patriots in double figure scoring with 18 points on 8 of 11 shooting from the field. He also tallied a double-double with 10 rebounds. Travis Harvey added 15 points while Luke Fitzgerald netted 13 markers. Bernard Cherry recorded a double-double with 12 points and 12 caroms.

Roderick Braden paced the Bulldog attack with 13 points and five assists. Mitchell Johnson and John Rogers were also in double figures, garnering 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Cumberlands improves to 27-6 on the season and will play the winner of the Biola University (Calif.) and Westminster College (Utah) contest in the second round at 4:30 p.m. CDT on Friday. Jarvis Christian ends its season at 26-8.


The 16 point victory for the Patriots was the largest of the 2009 tournament ... Cumberlands moved its winning streak to eight games ... Cumberlands improves to 13-18 all-time in the tournament, including a 9-10 mark in first-round games ... Jarvis Christian falls to 0-3 all-time in tournament play ... Cumberlands was the third 11 seed to advance to the second round in the last seven years ... Cumberlands' Bernard Cherry recorded his first double-double of the season.

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