BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Despite not having a lead until overtime, Union College overcame a 15-point, second-half deficit to pull out an 82-78 overtime win over Appalachian Athletic Conference foe UVa-Wise Wednesday.
'I am so proud of our guys' effort tonight," said Union head coach Sean Gillespie. "The way they just buckled down and fought back; I could not ask for me. If they put forth that same amount effort day-in and day-out, it's going to be an amazing year for this team."
The win improved Union to 2-3 overall and 1-0 in league play, while UVa-Wise dropped to 2-3 overall and 0-1 in the AAC.
Down 28-26 at the half, the Bulldogs started the second period sluggishly as the Cavs used a 16-3 run to open up a 52-37 cushion with 11:43 to play in regulation.
But then, Union began to chip away at the deficit.
A 15-5 run pulled the Bulldogs within 57-52 at the 7:33 mark. Darrel Jackson (Jonesboro, Ark.) scored the final five points in the surge to make it a five-point contest.
UVa-Wise stretched its lead to 63-54 following a Kevin Perry bucket with 5:04 to play. Yet, Union continued to scrap and eventually sliced the lead down to 69-67 after a Jackson layup with 1:09 to go.
Following a pair of Travis Berry free throws to make it 71-67 with 56 seconds on the clock, Jackson scored again to make it a two-point game with 43 seconds left. UVa-Wise failed to add its lead, and Union had the ball with 15.5 seconds remaining.
Josh Hurd (Independence, Ky.) completed the comeback with a basket to make is 71-71 with eight second left. The Cavs tried to race down the court for a final shot, but Adam Hood turned the ball over with 7.2 seconds still to play.
Union got two shots off in the waning moments, but neither connected as the went into overtime tied at 71-71.
In overtime, UVa-Wise jumped out to a 75-71 advantage, but Union scored the next five points and took the lead for the first time in the game on a Jerome Carmichael (Newport, Tenn.) 3-pointer with 2:04 to play.
Two Berry free throws put UVa-Wise up one, but Shawn Hadley (Doraville, Ga.) hit a layup with 1:34 to go to put Union ahead 78-77.
The Bulldogs never looked back as they scored four of the final five points of the game to claim the 82-78 conference win.
Four Bulldogs scored in double figures with Carmichael leading the way with 17. Jackson followed with 15 points, while Hurd and Kearney Demus (Lexington, Ky.) each netted 13 points. As a team, Union blocked six shots on the night with Hurd accounting for three. Still, Beau Brown (Athens, Tenn.) came up with the biggest block of the night when he blocked a Hood 3-point attempt with Union up 81-78 in the closing seconds of overtime.
Brown finished with two blocked shots.
Perry led everyone with 18 points and 10 rebounds as the Cavs had four players score in double figures. Pance Kecev contributed 15 points as he hit 3-of-4 shots from behind the arc. Berry and Josh Jordan chipped in 10 points apiece.
Union returns to action Saturday when it plays host to conference rival Bryan (Tenn.) College at 6 p.m.