In front of a raucous home crowd, the third seeded Cumberland County College Dukes Men's Basketball team (22-6) advanced to the Region 19 Final Four by defeating the sixth seeded Owls of Union County (16-15), 90-78.
A tentative Dukes team fell behind early in the first quarter, trailing Union County 17-7 at the 14 minute mark. The Owls came out firing on all cylinders led by the sharp three-point shooting of Quinton Dixon and William Phelps. Despite the deficit, head coach Will Wareham eased the early jitters to lead the team on a furious run, scoring 12 points in the next three minutes to cut the Owls lead to three. Back and forth play ensued with the teams trading baskets and the Dukes headed to the locker room down 43-40 at the half.
In the 2nd half, the Dukes All-Region, All-Conference forward Haashim Wallace took the game over. Early in the second half, with the score tied at 57, Wallace aggressively attacked the basket and wowed the crowd with his signature thunderous dunks. Wallace added to his season-long highlight reel with an acrobatic reverse alley oop that sent the home crowd into a frenzy. With the momentum seized, freshmen guards Tyler Lunsford and Luciano Lubrano took care of the rest as Lunsford scored on a variety of layups and Lubrano converted a turnover into an emphatic jam to help the Dukes control the lead for good. Haashim Wallace led the Dukes with 28 points and 10 rebounds. Tyler Lunsford turned in an all around effort with 19 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals. Freshmen forward Luis Reyes pitched in with 11 points and 8 rebounds.
The Dukes maintained a double digit lead for the back end of the second half, before closing the game with a 12 point win. Cumberland now travels to Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, PA for the Region 19 Final Four and will face Route 55 Rival, the second seeded Rowan College at Gloucester County Roadrunners. The Dukes and Roadrunners split their season series winning a game apiece. The matchup is schedule for Saturday, March 3, with tip-off at 7 PM