Unfortunately the Dukes first playoff appearance in five years ended in a blink of an eye Saturday afternoon, just two days after the seeding committee awarded Cumberland the #11 seed and a matchup with Atlantic Cape Community College. Early on, things looked promising for the Dukes as they jumped out to an early 10-2 lead and held on to four point margin at the half.
The Buccaneers of Atlantic Cape came out firing from deep in the second half, knocking down a barage of threes and stifling the Dukes offense. The Buccaneers held Cumberland's leading scorer Hikeem Pruitt to just two points in the second half and it stalled the entire offense. The Dukes supporting cast failed to connect on their open shots, shooting an abysmal 2 of 18 (11%) from beyond the arc and recording a total field goal percentage of 34.5% (19 for 55). Pruitt was held to his lowest scoring output this season of 13 points. Freshmen Olajuwon Rainner and Ezekiel Shockley scored 19 points apiece in the losing effort.
Despite the disappointing end to the season, one can say it was a successful year after the sting of the playoff loss dissipates. Under first year Head Coach Greg Goodwin, the Dukes improved to an overall record of 12-13 and 10-10 in the conference just one year after going 2-25. In a tough Garden State Athletic Conference, that is an impressive turn around, especially knowing that Men's Basketball Program hasn't seen a .500 conference record in five years. Next season, although it seems too far away, the Dukes will look to take the next step and be in contention for the Region XIX title game.