LAURINBURG, N.C. - 's tip-in at the buzzer in overtime sunk the visiting No. 20 Union College men's basketball team on Friday afternoon, as St. Andrews (N.C.) pulled off a shocking 61-60 victory at the Knights Court in Appalachian Athletic Conference Action.
With the loss, Union fell to 23-4 overall and 14-2 in the AAC. In the defeat, the Bulldogs had their NAIA Division II long winning streak of 13 games snapped, as well as a 13 game AAC winning streak. St. Andrews improved to 4-16, 3-13 in the AAC with the victory.
In a low scoring affair throughout, St. Andrews took an early first half lead and never gave it up over the period, going into the locker room for intermission up 30-22 on the Bulldogs.
It was more of the same to start the second half, as the Knights quickly went up by 11 at 33-22. Union, however, quickly rebounded, chopping the SAU lead down to two points (35-33) after an 11-2 run, capped by a Fitzgerald White three-pointer.
But, SAU was able to hold off the Bulldog run at the lead, eventually taking a 51-42 lead with 2:28 to go in regulation. With under a minute to go, it appeared the Knights were on their way to a victory, as they held a 53-47 lead with 32 seconds left.
Here, the Bulldogs began their comeback, starting with a Tarik Smith put-back that made it 53-49. Smith was fouled on the play and successfully converted the free throw, cutting the SAU lead in half at 53-50. On SAU's next trip down the floor, they missed two free throws, but a Union turnover with 16 seconds left gave possession right back to the Knights.
After another Union foul, SAU once again went to the foul line with a chance to ice it. But, they once again missed two attempts, giving Union one more chance to send it to overtime. And the Bulldogs delivered, as Smith nailed a three-pointer with 10 seconds left, tying the game at 53-53.
On the final possession of regulation, SAU could not make a shot, as the game headed to overtime. In the overtime period, the lead swung back and forth, with SAU finally taking a 59-57 lead with 30 seconds left after two made free throws.
On Union's next possession, Smith once again came up big, knocking down another clutch three to give the Bulldogs a 60-59 lead with 12 seconds to go. However, the Knights converted on their final chance in the period, as Pittman's tip-in at the buzzer won it for St. Andrews.
Overall, forward Deante Johnson led the way with another double-double, scoring 18 points, while snatching 12 rebounds. White ended the afternoon with 17 points, while Smith scored 14 points. Pittman led SAU in the win with 14 points.
By the Numbers
- Despite the loss, Union still controls its own destiny in the race for the AAC Regular Season Championship and can even clinch the title without playing a game over the next five days. A loss by second place Reinhardt (Ga.) before the Bulldogs' next game on Wednesday will secure the title for the Bulldogs.
- Today's loss for the Bulldogs was their first since the calendar turned to 2014. Union has also dropped both of their games on the AAC season in overtime, as their first loss of conference play to Montreat on Nov. 20 occurred in double overtime (123-119).
- Johnson recorded his eighth straight double-digit scoring game in the defeat, along with his sixth double-double of the 2013-14 season. Overall, Johnson has scored in double figures in 22 games on the year for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs return to action on Wednesday, hosting Bryan (Tenn.) in the final home game of the 2013-14 season for the program. The senior night, AAC-tilt begins at 7:30 p.m.