BARBOURVILLE, Ky. --
Union College guard James Strange
scored a career-high 17 points to lead the way, as the Bulldogs pulled out a 79-72 win over Montreat (N.C.) in Appalachian Athletic Conference men's basketball action on Thursday evening at Robsion Arena.
With the win, UC improved to 6-20 overall, 3-9 in the AAC, while Montreat fell to 10-13 overall, 5-6 in the AAC with the defeat.
In the first half, the lead swung back-and-forth various times, until Montreat took control of things with five minutes left, taking their biggest lead of the evening at 26-19. Here, UC went on a big 12-2 run, punctuated by a Josh Smith
(Corbin, Ky.) lay-in with 58 seconds left that gave the Bulldogs a 31-28 lead.
Montreat, however, got the last bucket of the half at the buzzer, as the Bulldogs went into the locker room for intermission up 31-30.
To start the second half, Montreat came out of the locker room on fire, and took the lead back very quickly at 42-37 four minutes into the period. The Cavaliers proceeded to keep the lead throughout the first 10 minutes of the half, and was up 53-50 with 10:30 left.
A minute later, however, Union tied the game up at 53-all on an Ian Davis
(Cherry Hill, N.J.) lay-in. The game was then a nip and tuck affair for the next three minutes, and was still tied up (at 61-all) with 6:23 left in regulation.
Here, the Bulldogs went on a 8-0 run over the next two minutes, that was capped by a Carlos Sanford
(Durham, N.C.) three-point play that gave UC a 69-61 lead with four minutes left.
The lead proved to be too much for Montreat to comeback from, but they didn't go out quietly, as they cut the lead all the way down to two points (72-70) with 1:30 left. The Bulldogs, however, played tough defense, and salted the game away at the free throw line in the final minute to clinch a home conference win.
Overall, Strange (Pineville, Ky.) was the team-leader with his 17 point night (on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor). Strange also went a perfect 4-for-4 from the charity stripe in the win.
Other double-digit scorers on the night for the Bulldogs included Smith, who came off the bench to score 15 points, while Davis and Ryan Young
(Waynesburg, Ky.) each scored 12 points, apiece. Davis also notched a double-double after snatching a game-high 11 rebounds. Sanford rounded out the double-digit scorers on the night for UC with 10 points.
Montreat was led in a losing effort by LaBris Adams, who scored a game-high 22 points.
Union returns to action on Saturday when they travel to Virginia Intermont for an AAC-tilt. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.