BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Union College guard Tarik Smith poured in a career-high 31 points, but Montreat (N.C.) did just enough to get past the Bulldogs in double overtime, 123-119, in an Appalachian Athletic Conference thriller on Wednesday night at Robsion Arena.
With the loss, Union had a four-game winning streak snapped, and sit at 5-2 overall, 2-1 in the AAC. Montreat improved to 5-2 with the win, 2-1 in the AAC.
In the first half, the host Cavaliers came out and shocked the Bulldogs, taking an 11-point lead (20-9) at the 11-minute mark. However, Union clawed their way back into it, taking their first lead of the night with 1:05 left in the period (36-35) after a Fitzgerald White three.
The one-point lead held over the final minute, as the Bulldogs went into intermission up 38-37 over the Cavaliers. In the second half, neither team could take control of the game, as things remained tight all half long. With five minutes remaining, the game was tied for the seventh time in the period at 73-73 on a Montreat made free throw.
This set up a wild final minutes of regulation. With the game tied for the 10th time in the period at 82-82 with two minutes left, Union went on a 6-0 scoring run to take an 88-82 lead with 41 seconds left after Michael Bueter nailed two free throws. Montreat, however, came back, and trailed by just two points (88-86) with 11 seconds left.
After Union made one of two free throws, the Cavaliers had one last chance to tie the game, and Cavalier Kerigan Farley delivered, knocking down a deep three-pointer with one second left to send the game to overtime.
In the first OT, Montreat opened an early lead, only to see Union come back and tie things up once again (98-98) after Smith converted a three-point play with two minutes left. With 36 seconds left, MC's Farley made a huge play, making a steal and converting a lay-up to put the Cavaliers up, 105-102.
But, Union punched right back, as Smith nailed a wild three-pointer with 17 seconds left to tie the game back up at 105-105. After a Montreat miss on their final possession of the first overtime, Smith hurled up a desperation shot at the buzzer that would've won it for Union. However, the shot clanked off the rim, sending the game to a second overtime.
Finally, in the second overtime, a team took the game over, as Montreat raced out to an eight-point lead (117-109) with a minute left. Union fought until the final buzzer, but the visiting Cavaliers were able to hold off the late threat, and hung on for a four-point AAC marathon victory.
Overall, Smith led six double-digit scorers for Union on the night with his 31-point effort. The senior guard also dished out as career-high 10 assists in the victory, as well.
Meanwhile, White ended the night with 21 points, Sean Brown scored 16 points, and Bueter chipped in with 15 points. Deante Johnson scored 12 points and snatched eight rebounds, while Gerard Newby rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points.
Montreat was led in the victory by La'Bris Adams, who scored a team-high 29 points.
By the Numbers
- Smith's performance, which came off the bench, bested his previous career-high of 29 points. Smith posted that scoring night last season vs. Cincinnati Christian (Ohio).
- Under head coach Kevin Burton, the Bulldogs have now gone into extra frames twice, and both times the game went into a second overtime. Union was able to pull out an 82-75 win over Point (Ga.) in last season's two-OT thriller.
- Tonight's Union-Montreat game was the highest scoring game so far on the year in all of NAIA Division II. The previous high was set on Nov. 6, as Concordia (Ore.) bested Multnomah (Ore.), 132-109.
Union looks to bounce back on Saturday, as the Bulldogs host Truett-McConnell (Ga.) at Robsion Arena. The AAC tilt gets underway at 6 p.m.