MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. --
Union sophomore forward Turrell Morris
scored a game-high 21 points, as the fourth-seeded Bulldogs upset top-seed Milligan, 74-71 in the semifinals of the 2011 Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament Saturday afternoon at Lacey Fieldhouse.
With the win, Union improved to 15-15 on the year and advanced to their second straight AAC Tournament Championship game, which will be played Monday night against third-seed Reinhardt at Milligan. Milligan ends the year with a 17-12 record.
In the first half, Union controlled the pace of play in the first 20 minutes, jumping out to a 20-12 lead with seven minutes remaining. UC never looked back the rest of the half, as they went into the locker room with a 42-31 lead over the host Buffaloes.
The Bulldogs also went on a 11-4 run to close the half, as Morris and Stuart Stamper
lead the way scoring 10 points apiece in the first 20 minutes. Union was also just as strong on the defensive end, as they held the Buffaloes to 33.3 percent shooting from the floor in the half.
At the start of the second period, Union continued the pace they went into the locker room with, maintaining at 51-41 lead with 12 minutes remaining. Milligan made a few runs at the Union lead, but could not close the gap much over the next eight minutes. The Union run at this point was punctuated by a Morris dunk on a fast break to give the Bulldogs a 70-57 lead with four minutes remaining.
It was here that Milligan went on a frantic run over the next two minutes, going on a 12-0 run to cut the Union lead all the way down to two points at 70-69 with 1:59 left.
The Bulldogs, however, were resilient in the last moments of the game, as they never relinquished the lead down the stretch. Milligan had one chance to tie the game late, but Kyle Grisby missed a three pointer with 14 seconds left, thus ending the Buffaloes chances to ever catch up to the Union lead in the ballgame.
Overall, Morris had his 21-point scoring night after shooting 8-of-12 from the field. Morris also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds to notch his 15th double-double of the season and his second in as many AAC Tournament games. Other double-digit scorers on the night were Stamper, who ended with 15 points and Ryan Young
, who had 13 points and dished out two assists.
Milligan was led by Justin Sylvester, who scored 20 points. The Buffaloes were hampered all night by the strong effort on the defensive end by Union, as they shot just 33.3 percent from the floor in the game.
The win by the Bulldogs now sets up Monday night's AAC Championship game against Reinhardt, who won the day's first semifinal in a thriller against seventh seed Tennessee Wesleyan, 88-82 in overtime.
In the regular season Union and Reinhardt split AAC conference games. The Bulldogs won at Union 82-77 on Jan. 8, while Reinhardt won in their gym on Feb. 2, 85-69.