By John Gatto
WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. – Union College forward Fitzgerald White (SR/Miami, Fla. ) scored a game-high 19 points, but it wasn’t enough, as a furious comeback in the second half by the Bulldogs fell just two points short on the road at Cumberlands (Ky.) on Saturday, as the host Patriots pulled out a 63-61 win in NAIA men’s basketball action.
With the defeat, Union fell to 9-4 on the year, while Cumberlands improved to 10-4 with the victory.
In the first half, Cumberlands controlled play for the most of the period, opening up as large as a 20-point lead in the half (38-18 with three minutes left in period). Union came back just a bit at the end of the period, but the Patriots still went into halftime up 40-29 on Union.
But, in the second half, it was a different story, as Union gradually chipped away at the Patriot lead throughout the half.
Things came to a head with under four minutes left, with Cumberlands clinging to a 59-57 lead. After a bucket by the Patriots made it 61-57 with 2:34 left, Union scored four straight points to finally complete the comeback, knotting the game up at 61-61 on a White basket with under a minute to go in regulation.
However, with 12 seconds left, Cumberlands’ D’Lando Carter was fouled, and nailed two free throws to give the Patriots the lead back by a pair. On Union’s final possession of the game, a shot at the basket rattled out, as the valiant comeback bid by the Bulldogs in the second half fell just short.
Overall, White led the way for Union in the narrow defeat, scoring his 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor. White also recorded three steals in the loss, as well. The only other double-digit scorer on the day for the Bulldogs was Deante Johnson (SR/Cincinnati, Ohio), who scored 11 points (on 4-of-6 shooting), while pulling down six rebounds off the glass.
The Bulldogs will now take a long break for the Holidays, returning to action at the start of the New Year on Jan. 2 at St. Andrews (N.C.). The Appalachian Athletic Conference tilt gets underway at 2 p.m.