BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Union guard Tarik Smith scored a game-high 29 points, leading the Bulldogs to an 89-83 victory over Cincinnati Christian on Friday afternoon in the second game of the 2012 Bulldog Classic, held at Robsion Arena.
With the win, UC moved to 1-1 on the season, giving first year head coach Kevin Burton his first victory as the Bulldogs' head coach. CCU fell to 0-1 with the defeat.
In the first half, the Bulldogs opened up a 11-point lead (23-12) in the 11th minute after a Josh Smith jumper. As the half wore on, CCU gradually cut into the Bulldog lead, getting it down to a single point (31-30) with 3:59 left in half. After tying it up at 34-all moments later, CCU took their first lead of the night 1:20 left after a pair of made free throws at 36-34.
After UC tied the game back up on a Derrick Thorpe jumper a few moments later, but the Eagles proceeded to end the half on a 5-2 run to take a 41-38 lead at intermission.
To start the second half, the lead swung back and forth through the first five minutes. Eventually, the Bulldogs opened up a five-point lead (57-52) after Matthew Thomas hit a pair of free throws at the 13-minute mark. As the game entered the 10th minute, Thorpe made a three that gave UC their biggest lead of the second half at six (62-56).
But, once again, CCU came back, taking the lead at the nine minute mark at 63-62 after a 7-0 run. This set up a wild few minutes, that saw the game tied multiple times, the last being with 2:43 left at 78-all.
After CCU took the lead at 79-78 on a free throw, James Strange hit a huge three with 2:31 left that gave Union a 81-79 lead. Once Union regained the lead, they never gave it back up, ending the game on a 10-4 run to capture their first win of the 2012-13 season.
The Bulldogs had four other double-digits scorers on the night. Strange had 13 points, while the trio of Thomas, Thorpe, and Smith all scored 11 points. Smith also pulled down eight rebounds in the win.
Leading CCU on the afternoon was Kenny Gaynor, who scored 25 points.
In the first game of the Classic, Cumberlands (Ky.) rolled past Pensacola Christian (Fla.) 91-60. Antonio Bumpus led the Patriots in the win, scoring 28 points.
The 2012 Bulldog Classic concludes tomorrow, as Union takes on Pensacola Christian. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.