MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. - Union College forward Deante Johnson scored a team-high 19 points, as the Bulldogs fought off a furious comeback by Milligan (Tenn.) in the second half to best the Buffaloes, 80-72, at Lacy Fieldhouse on Tuesday evening in Appalachian Athletic Conference action.
With the win, Union moved to 3-1 on the year, 2-0 in the AAC, while Milligan fell to 3-1 overall, 0-1 in the AAC with the defeat.
In the first half, Union came out strong, opening a 17-7 lead in the first nine minutes. The Bulldogs extended the lead out to 13 (24-11) with nine minutes left, and never looked back the rest of the half. Right before halftime, Milligan cut the Union lead to eight points (38-30), but Sean Brown knocked down a jumper with six seconds left to give Union a double-digit edge at the break, 40-30.
In the second half, Union continued to control the game, and led by 13 points (68-55) with 6:49 remaining in regulation after Tarik Smith knocked down a pair of free throws. Here, Milligan began their comeback bid, racing on a 10-1 run to cut the Union lead down to 69-65 with 3:26 left.
Union fought back, however, and went back up seven (72-65) after another Smith free throw with 2:43 left. But, Milligan would not go away, as the Buffaloes cut the Bulldog lead all the way down to three points (73-70) with under a minute left.
From there, Union put Milligan away, going on a 7-2 run down the stretch to earn the victory. The Bulldogs made several big free throws down the stretch, as Michael Bueter went a perfect 4-for-4 from the charity stripe over the final 30 seconds to finally put the Buffaloes away.
Overall, Johnson led the Bulldogs in the win with his 19-point night on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor. Elsewhere, three other players scored in double-digits on the night for Union. Brown had 14 points, while Smith and Fitzgerald White scored 12 points, apiece. White also led the Bulldogs in the rebounding department, nabbing nine 'boards.
For Milligan, Torian Sitton led the way in the loss, scoring a game-high 20 points.
By the Numbers
- Johnson's double-digit scoring night was his second of the 2013-14 season for the Bulldogs. Last year, the junior scored in double-figures in nine of the 10 games he played in during the second half of the year.
- Brown has now scored in double-figures in three of the first four games of the season.
- In the defeat, Milligan was hampered by poor free throw shooting, as the Buffaloes shot just 53.3 percent (24-of-45) from the charity stripe. Meanwhile, Union shot 75 percent (24-of-32) from the free throw line in the victory.
- With the win, Union continued their run of success at Milligan the last few seasons. Since the 2010-11 season, the Bulldogs have won four of their last five games played on the Lacy Fieldhouse floor, with their only loss coming during the 2011-12 season.
Union returns to the floor on Thursday, traveling to Kentucky Christian for the 2013 KCU Super 8 Classic. The Bulldogs play host KCU to open play in the Classic, with tip-off set for 6 p.m.