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Cumberlands upsets Georgetown to take MSC title

FRANKFORT, Ky. - The University of the Cumberlands led start to finish and sank 9-of-12 from the stripe in the final four minutes to win the Mid-South Conference tournament championship with a 60-54 win over Georgetown College Sunday afternoon in the Frankfort Convention Center.

With the win, the fifth-seeded Patriots became the lowest seed to win the tournament since Cumberlands -- then Cumberland College -- did so as the six seed in 1998. The Patriots get the league's automatic bid into the Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament in Kansas City beginning March 14.

It was Cumberlands' third MSC tournament championship and gave them a sweep on the day, following the crown won by the women's team earlier in the day.

Cumberlands (19-11) took the lead on a Zavion Neely three-point shot with 18:31 left in the first half. Georgetown scored the next bucket to pull within one, but was no closer than three the rest of the first half with the Patriots taking a 32-23 lead to the half.

In the second half, the Tigers got within two points three times, including at 48-46 on a free throw by junior John Hegarty with 5:10 remaining.

That would be the last Tiger (24-7) points until junior Garel Craig nailed a three from the corner with 1:59 left. In the meantime, Cumberlands built a 54-46 lead with six consecutive points, the last five coming from junior Benito Santiago Jr.

Georgetown -- who played without all-conference forward Maurice Pearson due to an injury -- got within three twice in the final minute, but could draw no closer.

Cumberlands got the win despite having only one player reach double figures in the scoring column. Senior Matt Daniel, a first-team all-conference pick, had 17 points and five rebounds.

Santiago and sophomore Steve Goins added nine each.
Georgetown was led by Craig's 15 thanks to 3-of-4 shooting from the arc. Seniors Josh Lockett and Johonne Hamilton joined him in double figures off the bench with 12 and 11, respectively.

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