Union Men’s Basketball: Sweet 16; No. 18 Bulldogs Control Bryan, 91-63, In AAC Tilt

By John Gatto

For the Mountain Advocate

BARBOURVILLE, Ky. – Forward Deante Johnson (SR/Cincinnati, Ohio) and guard JD Tucker (JR/Charleston, S.C.) scored 15 points, apiece, pacing the Union College men’s basketball team to a convincing 91-63 victory at Bryan (Tenn.) on Thursday evening in Appalachian Athletic Conference play.

With the victory, the Bulldogs extended their NAIA Division II longest winning streak to 16 games, improving to 25-4 overall, 16-1 in the AAC. Bryan fell to 14-12, 8-9 in the AAC with the loss.

In the win, things remained tight between the Bulldogs and Lions throughout the first half, but Union ended the period on a flurry, and rolled into the locker room with a double-digit lead at 45-29. The Bulldogs shot 62.5 percent in the first half to take the large lead, while Bryan could not keep up after a hot shooting start, only shooting 41.4 percent.

It was more of the same in the second half, as Union opened up an insurmountable 70-41 lead over the Lions with 11 minutes remaining. From there, it was academic for the Bulldogs, as they coasted down the stretch to notch yet another double-digit conference victory.

Overall, Johnson and Tucker paced five Union double-digit scorers with their respective 15 point evenings. Johnson missed just two shots from the floor in the win (6-of-8), while snatching five rebounds. Meanwhile, Tucker collected six rebounds and two steals.

Elsewhere, Dominique Hagans (SR/Lexington, Ky.) posted another all-around solid game, scoring 14 points (on 7-of-8 shooting), while dishing out a season-best eight assists. Rounding out the double-digit scorers were Gerrard Newby (SO/Lexington, Ky. ) and the returning DeAntray Stevens (JR/Cincinnati, Ohio), who scored 11 points, apiece.

By the Numbers 

  • ¥ Along with the 16-game winning streak, Union has now won 12 straight in AAC play, with their only loss coming way back on December 1 against Milligan. The Bulldogs have also now won 24 of their last 26 AAC regular season contests, as well.
  • ¥ Tonight’s win was Union’s 22nd by double-figures on the 2014-15 season, 14th in the teams current 16-game winning streak. Since getting past Milligan by five points on Jan. 28 (79-74), Union has won seven straight by double-digits.
  • ¥ The Bulldogs ended their road season in the victory, finishing the year 11-3 away from home, winning their last six away from Robsion Arena.
  • ¥ The Union defense once again excelled against Bryan in the win, holding the Lions to just 37 percent shooting from the floor, while forcing 17 turnovers (Union shot 57 percent).
  • ¥ The Bulldogs held Bryan’s Brandon Cole below his scoring average yet again, as Cole ended the game with 19 points. Cole’s two lowest outputs of the 2014-15 season came against Union (he scored 11 points in the first game back in January).

Up Next 

The Bulldogs finish off the 2014-15 regular season on Saturday, taking on Reinhardt (Ga.) in AAC play. The Senior Day clash is set to tip-off at 6 p.m.