By John Gatto
For the Mountain Advocate
BARBOURVILLE, Ky. – The No. 18 Union College men’s basketball team will enter this week’s 2015 Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament as the number one seed for the second straight season, as the Conference released the brackets for the Tournament this morning.
The entire tournament will be played once again at the MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center in Kingsport, Tenn. This is the third straight season that the tournament will be played in Kingsport.
Union will play their first game of the Tournament on Thursday afternoon at 12 noon against the winner of a first round match-up on Wednesday between No. 8 seed St. Andrews (N.C.) and No. 9 seed Montreat (N.C.). The Bulldogs swept all four match-ups against both schools this season.
For more on the tournament, and a full tournament bracket, click here.
The Bulldogs will come into the tournament riding a huge wave of momentum, as they enter play with a 17-game winning streak, the longest in all of NAIA Division II and program history. With a record of 26-4 and 17-1 in the AAC, Union captured their second straight AAC Regular Season crown to nab the top spot in the Tournament. The team will also make a trip to the NAIA Division II National Championship in Point Lookout, Missouri in the first week of March, as well.
Union is led individually by forward Deante Johnson (SR/Cincinnati, Ohio), who ended the season averaging 14.6 points per game and 6.2 rebounds per contest. Johnson has led NAIA Division II in field goal percentage for most of the season, coming in at 73.5 percent for the year.
Guard Dominique Hagans (SR/Lexington, Ky.), who was inserted into the starting line-up after Holiday break, has also been huge for Union, averaging 14.4 points per game in 17 contests, while snatching 6.5 ‘boards per game, and recording 85 assists and 48 steals. Since Hagans has started seeing playing time for Union, the Bulldogs have not lost a game, going a perfect 17-0 with the senior in the line-up.
As a team, Union leads the country in three categories – steals (350), steals per game (11.6), and scoring margin (21.4) – while being second in field goal percentage (51.6) and third in both total scoring offense (2631) and total blocks (148).
For more coverage from the AAC Tournament, remember to stay with GoUnionBulldogs.com all week long.