Union Impresses in Season Opener

BY: Brady Smiley

The No. 16 Union College Bulldogs opened their season on Nov. 4 with a 107-43 rout of Boyce College. Union was led by T.J. Jones and Deante Johnson, both of whom recorded double-doubles in the blow out.

Union started the game slowly, falling behind 10-4. A mixture of quick shots and cold shooting hindered the Bulldogs, but head coach Kevin Burton wasn’t worried.

“To start the game, we were nervous. We were very nervous,” Burton said, “but I liked that because it meant that our mental state was that we want to be very good. I’m glad we didn’t come out laid back with a sense of entitlement.”

Burton was right as Union stormed into the lead in the first half. After falling to a 17-13 deficit, Union scored 23 consecutive points giving them the 30-17 lead over Boyce. Jon North, the host of Union’s broadcast attributed the run to the improvement in the defensive pressure. He said, “They came out of the timeout on fire defensively, flying around everywhere.”

Union continued their dominance through the remainder of the first half, heading to the locker room with a 53-24 lead. From their early deficit, Union outscored Boyce 40-7 to finish the half.

The run would not stop there as Union came out hot in the second half. Union continued their scoring run with quality shots and several dunks. Coach Burton made a point to the crowd that came out to watch the team saying, “I thought it was really cool how many students and fans came out to watch us play. They got loud and made a difference for us and I hope that they continue to come out.”

At the ten minute mark of the second half, Union had extended their lead to a whopping 85-34. As the game furthered, the Bulldogs were able to use players further down their bench. Union reached the 100-point mark with just over four minutes remaining in the game and cruised to the 107-43 victory over Boyce after that.

Following the victory, Union traveled to Asbury where they defeated Central Christian College and lost to Asbury. With a 2-1 record, the no. 16 Bulldogs continue their road trip with conference match-ups at Truett-McConnell and Montreat before they return home on Nov. 17 to take on Alice Lloyd.