ATHENS, Tenn. - Tennessee Wesleyan's Zamarius McClendon scored a game-high 32 points, leading the host Bulldogs to a 90-77 win over the Union College men's basketball team in Appalachian Athletic Conference action Saturday.
With the loss, Union fell to 5-5 on the year, 1-1 in the AAC, while Tennessee Wesleyan also went to 5-5 overall, 2-0 in the AAC with the victory.
To start the game, UC came out hot, opening an 19-8 lead with 11 minutes left in the half after Tarik Smith knocked down a pair of free throws. Tennessee Wesleyan, however, fought back, eventually tying the game up at 25-all with six minutes left in the half after going on a 17-6 run.
As the half wore on, TWC continued to roll, opening up a six point lead (32-26) with four minutes left. Here, UC had a run of their own (9-3), taking the lead back at 35-32 after Archie Adams knocked down a jumper with 1:56 left. TWC proceeded to end the half on another run, going on a 10-4 spurt in the last minute and a half, and give the host Bulldogs a 42-39 lead at intermission.
It was more of the same to start the second half, as the lead swung back and forth the first few minutes. With 16:10 left, Smith made two free throws to give UC a 52-50 lead. TWC proceeded to counter a minute later with a basket to make it 52-all, signifying the sixth tie of the ballgame to that point.
That would be the last time the game would be tied the rest of the game, as TWC rolled over the next five minutes to open a 69-59 lead with 10 minutes to go. TWC continued to build on the lead over the final 10 minutes, and coasted down the stretch for a 13-point home conference victory.
Overall for the Bulldogs, Smith led all UC scorers with 24 points, as the junior guard has now scored in double-digits in eight of the nine games he's seen action in on the season. Smith also pulled down seven rebounds, as well.
Other double digit scorers for the Bulldogs included Matthew Thomas, who had 18 points, five rebounds, and two steals, while Sergio Gonzalez came off the bench and scored 17 points, rounding out the double digit scores on the day for UC.
McClendon led the second half charge for TWC, posting his 32 point night on 10-of-16 shooting from the floor. McClendon also pulled down a game-high 17 rebounds to collect a double-double.
The Union College men's basketball team returns to action on Thursday, traveling to Berea (Ky.) for an out-of-conference tilt. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.