The Dukes Men's Basketball program came out of the weekend with an important conference road victory over Bergen Community College, 86-77. With the win, the Dukes improved their overall record to 10-9 and their conference record to 8-6.
After trailing most of the first half, the Dukes surged to a 41-33 lead at the break behind a 14-4 run to close the half. The run was fueled by five points from sophomore guard Kyle Philo. Philo started the run with a defensive rebound leading to a layup on the other end, and capped off the spurt with a shot from downtown just before the half expired. Philo finished the afternoon with 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists.
Despite gaining their first lead of the game with 3:21 left in the first half, the Dukes held on to that lead the remainder of the game. Cumberland fended off numerous attempts by the Bulldogs to take the lead, but the visiting Dukes always had an answer. The Bulldogs cut the lead to just one point at the 16:04 mark before freshman Che'Quan Hargrose answered with back-to-back three-point buckets to push the lead back to seven. Hargrose had an efficient afternoon off of the bench, recording 13 points on 4 of 5 shooting from beyond the arc.
Another Bergen run cut the Dukes lead to one just three minutes later. Holding a narrow 51-50 lead with just over thirteen minutes to play, Cumberland put together a 10-2 run over the next two minutes. During that span, Abraham Ouattara hit a three-point bucket, freshman forward Haashim Wallace scored five consecutive points, and Taylor Clarke finished the run with a lay-up for the visiting team. That run pushed the lead to 61-52. From that point the Dukes did not allow their lead to get under seven for the remainder of the game. Wallace finished the game with 18 points and Clarke led the Dukes in scoring with 27 points on 9 of 15 shooting from the floor. Clarke also added four rebounds and three steals.
The Dukes will take the floor again Tuesday night on the road at Atlantic Cape Community College. Tuesday's game will finish off a four-game road trip for Cumberland before returning home on Saturday to host Sussex County Community College.