BATAVIA, Ohio - Union College guard Tarik Smith scored a team-high 27 points, as the Bulldogs raced past UC-Clermont in the second half on their way to an 85-66 victory on the road Tuesday.
With the victory, Union moved to 7-6 on the year, while UC-Clermont fell to 4-10 with the defeat.
"We defended well the entire game," said head coach Kevin Burton. "The zone we ran was very effective throughout the game. We got off to a slow start offensively, but once we finally got on a run, we put the game away. We also took care of the basketball, which was encouraging."
In the first half, it was a defensive slug fest, but one that saw Union maintain a lead for the majority of the period. The biggest lead the Bulldogs had in the first half was five points, as UC-Clermont continued to hang around. The Cougars made the last basket of the half with 24 seconds left, which cut the UC lead at the half to a single point at 39-38.
To start the second half, it continued to be a nip and tuck affair, with UC-Clermont tying the game up at 50-50 with 13 minutes left. Here, Union went on a big 10-0 run, opening up their biggest lead of the night at 60-50 with 10 minutes left after a Tyler Wagner jumper.
Once the Bulldogs got rolling, they never stopped, as the closest UC-Clermont came to the Bulldog lead the rest of the night was eight points (66-58). For the second half, Union dominated, outscoring Clermont 46-28 to coast down the stretch for the 19-point win.
Overall, along with scoring 27 points, Smith recorded five assists and four steals, while snatching six rebounds. Union's only other double-digit scorer on the night was Wagner, who had a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Also, guard Matthew Thomas ended the night tied for a game-high in assists with seven.
In the second half, the Union defense was stout, as the held Clermont to 0-of-12 shooting from outside the arc. The Bulldogs also forced 24 turnovers on the night, as well. Clermont was led in the loss by Kendall Beamon, who scored a game-high 29 points.
The Union College men's basketball team will now go on break for the Christmas Holiday, returning to action on Dec. 28, traveling to NCAA Division-I member Liberty (Va.) for an exhibition game. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.