DAYTON, Tenn. - The Union College men's basketball team opened up a double-digit lead in the second half and held off a late surge by Bryan (Tenn.) to record a tough 51-48 victory in Appalachian Athletic Conference play at Summers Gym on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, Union improved to 11-3 overall and 7-1 in the AAC. Bryan fell to 8-10, 4-4 in the AAC with the defeat.
In the first period, the game was close through the 14 minutes, with Union clinging to a 20-17 lead with 6:21 left in the half. The Bulldogs, however, took control of the game over the final five minutes of the half, as Tarik Smith nailed a jumper with four seconds left to give Union a 32-27 lead at intermission.
In outset of the second half, Union began to distance themselves from Bryan, opening the period on a 13-5 run to take a 45-32 lead with 12:55 remaining in regulation. After a Bryan bucket, the Bulldogs quickly went back up 13 at 47-34 with 12:30 left after a Tremayne Elias jumper.
It was here that Bryan started to slowly chip away at the lead, cutting it all the way down to a single point (49-48) with 2:27 left after a 13-2 run. On Union's next possession, forward Deante Johnson made a critical offensive rebound, which led to DeAntray Stevens being fouled. Stevens went to the foul line and nailed two free throws, giving the Bulldogs a three point lead with 1:01 left.
In the final minute, the Union defense came up huge, forcing back-to-back turnovers on the Bryan end. The last came with five seconds left, as a Smith steal sewed the game up for the Bulldogs.
Overall, Union had just two players score in double figures on the afternoon, as Fitzgerald White scored 11 points and Stevens scored 10 points. White also snatched seven rebounds in the win, as well.
Bryan was led in the loss by Derrick Walker, who had a game-high 15 points.
By the Numbers
- The win for Union was their eighth in the last nine games and their fifth straight victory in AAC play. It was also the programs first win at Bryan since Jan. 27, 2010.
- Once Union grabbed an 18-16 lead with 9:01 left in the first half, they never gave it up, holding the lead for the next 29 minutes of regulation.
- Despite struggling all day on the offensive end (Union ended the game shooting just 32.8 percent from the floor), the Bulldog defense had a big day, holding the Lions to their lowest point total of the 2013-14 season to date.
- The Bulldogs also held Lion forward Brandon Cole to just 12 points on the day. Cole came into the game averaging 25.1 points per contest, the second best mark in the entire AAC.
The Union College men's basketball team returns to action on Monday, taking on Crown (Tenn.) in an out-of-conference tilt. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at Robsion Arena.