BLUEFIELD, Va. – Union College guard Dominique Hagans (Lexington, Ky.) scored a game-high 20 points, as the Bulldogs held off a wild comeback by host Bluefield (Va.) to pull out a tough 63-57 win on the road in Appalachian Athletic Conference men’s basketball action on Wednesday night.
With the win, the Bulldogs moved to 11-4 overall and 6-1 in the AAC, earning their first victory at Bluefield since December 5, 2005 in the process. The Rams dropped to 6-7 overall and 3-5 in the AAC with the defeat.
In the first period, things remained tight between the Bulldogs and Rams for most of the period, with the teams wrestling with the lead at several spots. Things came to a head with 4:45 remaining in the half, with Union hanging on to just a 27-26 lead over the Rams.
Here, Union went on a huge run to end the period, ending the half on a 13-2 spurt to race into the locker room for
intermission up 40-27. Union’s defense in the first half spurned the rally in essence, as the Bulldogs held the Rams to just 29 percent shooting from the floor in the half (Union shot 62 percent overall).
The run continued into the second half, as the Bulldogs opened the period on a 10-0 run in the first four minutes of the period to go up 50-27 on the host Rams. This run was critical for Union, as it turned out they would need almost every point as the game continued.
Once Union took the 23-point lead, Bluefield slowly began to get back into the game. Spurned by a 20-3 run over 10 minutes, the Rams cut the Union lead all the way down to 53-47 with six minutes left.
Despite seeing the Bulldogs go back up by 10 points with five minutes left (57-47), the Rams continued to fight, chipping the Union lead all the way down to two points at 59-57 with 1:27 to go in regulation.
But, the Bulldogs closed the door on the Rams’ rally here, as Union forced a turnover after taking a three-point lead (60-57) with under a minute left. From there, the Bulldogs salted the game away at the free throw line to earn a hard-fought AAC win on the road.
Overall, Hagans led the way with his 20-point night in just his second game on the year in a Union uniform, missing just one shot from the floor on the evening (6-of-7). Hagans also went 8-of-10 from the free thrown line in the victory.
Elsewhere, forward Gerrard Newby (Lexington, Ky.) scored 13 points, pulling down nine rebounds and blocking three shots, as well. Newby also shot well from the field (3-of-4) and the charity stripe (7-of-10) in the victory. Deante Johnson (Cincinnati, Ohio) rounded out the double-digit scorers for Union, scoring 12 points in the win.
The Bulldogs return home to Robsion Arena for the first time in over a month on Saturday, as the Bulldogs host Bryan (Tenn.) in another AAC-tilt. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.