BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Five players scored in double figures to guide Union College to a 94-82 victory over visiting Indiana University East Saturday.
"This was a great way for us to open the new year," said Union coach Sean Gillespie. "The team played very well today. This was the best game we've played as a team all season."
Junior Darrel Jackson (Jonesboro, Ark.) was a perfect 10-for-10 at the foul line in posting a team-high 21 points for the Bulldogs (8-7 overall), while Josh Hurd (Independence, Ky.) recorded his first double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds to go along with a career-high six assists. Senior Beau Brown (Athens, Tenn.) had a solid, all-around game with 17 points, seven rebounds and a career-high seven steals.
Payton Ponzer (Independence, Ky.) and Nathan Beckley (Clarksville, Ind.) also scored in double figures as they netted 19 points and 12 points, respectively.
Union hit 35-of-69 shots (50.7 percent) from the field and made 76.0 percent (19-of-25) of its free throws. Meanwhile, IU East shot 44.0 percent (33-of-75) from the floor and connect on 12-of-20 free throws (60 percent).
The Bulldogs also dominated the glass, outrebounding the Red Wolves 46-36.
Early on, Union appeared to be running away with the game. The Bulldogs never trailed throughout the contest and had built a 24-13 lead following a Ponzer bucket with 11:03 to play in the opening period.
Using a 16-4 surge, Union stretched the margin to 44-23 with 3:25 to go en route toa 48-31 halftime cushion.
IU East (8-6 overall) came out on fire to begin the second half, using a 13-2 run to cut the margin to 50-44 after a Tyler Rigby 3-pointer with 17:21 remaining.
Union stretched the lead back to double digits and owned a 64-49 lead after Brown drained a 3-pointer of his own with 14:27 on the clock. However, the Red Wolves did not quit, whittling the lead down to 73-68 after another Rigby trey with 6:53 to go.
But IU East could get no closer.
Up 85-77, Union sank six straight free throws - four by Jackson, to build a 14-point cushion with 1:08 to play. IU East score five of the final eight points of the game, making the final 94-82.
IU East's Rigby led all scorers with 23 points with 19 coming in the second half. Rigby went 2-for-7 from the field in the first half but hit 7-of-13 shots in the second half.
After Rigby, Justin Hawkins scored 15 points for the Red Wolves with David Sanders and Brent Burris contributing 13 and 11 points, respectively.
The win was the third in a row for Union, equaling its longest win streak of the season. The Bulldogs have won four of its last five games and have a winning record for the first time all season.
Union returns to Appalachian Athletic Conference play Wednesday when it pays Bluefield (Va.) College a visit. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.