BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - The Bulldogs used a strong second half performance to pull away from Milligan College, 89-62, in Appalachian Athletic Conference Quarterfinal action Wednesday night.
With the win Union improves to 19-12 (11-5 AAC) and Milligan ends its season with a record of 10-21 (5-11 AAC).
The first half was a battle of wills as both teams dueled for control. Union started out strong, pulling out to an early 15-8 lead just six minutes into the contest, but Milligan was up to the early challenge, tying the game up at 17-17 with 11:46 remaining.
The rest of the first half was nip and tuck as it saw six lead changes and five ties. The Bulldogs regained its biggest lead of the first half of seven points at 26-19, but Milligan again battled back to take a three point lead at 38-35, with 1:35 to play.
On the ensuing possession a hard foul on junior James Johnson (Lexington, Ky.) sparked a scuffle that halted play for several minutes while the officials regained control of both teams.
From that point on Union took control of their emotions as well as the game. The Bulldogs closed out the first half by scoring the final four points to take the half time lead, 39-38.
The second half belonged to the Bulldogs as Union dominated, outscoring the Buffaloes 50-24. Union shot an astounding 21-of-37 (56.8 percent) from the floor in the second half and 60 percent (3-of-5) from behind the arc to pull away. Milligan's offense sputtered in its attempt to keep pace, converting on only 7-of-32 (21.9 percent) field goal attempts in the second half.
The Bulldogs were led on the evening by junior forward Ihsan Phillips (Philadelphia, Pa.) who netted a game high 16 points on 8-of-10 (80.0 percent) shooting from the floor and eight rebounds. Junior forward Josh Hurd (Independence, Ky.) tallied a double-double in the contest, scoring 12 points and 11 boards.
Union also received solid scoring contributions from senior guard Darrel Jackson (Jonesboro, Ark.) and junior forward James Johnson as the pair scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Milligan was led by Kyle Donahue and Eric Trujillo as both players tallied 13 points in the contest.
Union returns to action Friday Night in semifinal action of the AAC Tournament as they play host to Reinhardt College.
Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.