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No. 22 Union Pulls Away for Win in First Conference Game

McKENZIE, Tenn. - 1/5/2008 - The No. 22 ranked Union University Bulldogs posted a 90-68 win over area rival Bethel College (Tenn.) on Saturday afternoon to open TranSouth Conference play. Union improved to 7-4 overall and 1-0 in league play. Bethel dropped to 9-2 on the season and 0-1 in the conference.

In the 11-year history of the TranSouth Conference, Union’s men have won five regular season titles. The Bulldogs have also been to seven of the 11 tournament title games, winning five of them. Last season, Union posted runner-up finishes in both the regular season and tournament.

To start the game, Bethel scored first and pushed their lead to 10-2 in the first two minutes of play. However, the Union Bulldogs shook the sluggish start and thanks to a four-point play by the Union and NAIA leading scorer Matt Neaville (30.2 ppg), Union retook the momentum. Neaville’s four-point play came with Union trailing 14-8. That play sparked an 8-0 run that saw Union take the lead for good in the game. Union kept building the lead until the half, when the Bulldogs led 46-30.

The second half started with Union keeping the momentum on another three pointer by Neaville to give Union a 49-30 lead. Union continued their scoring attack as they stretched the lead to their biggest of the game at 74-45 with 9:59 remaining in the contest. Union’s balanced attack and solid three-point shooting helped the Bulldogs come away with the 22-point road win, 90-68.

For the first time this season, Union was led in scoring by someone other that Neaville. Tony Brown led the way with 21 points, making 3-of-4 from three-point range. Bolivar native Brian Lake posted 20 points including 3-of-6 shooting from behind the arc. Neaville posted 18 points (4-8 three pointers), while Ryan Merriman added 17 points and 13 rebounds. Merriman’s 13 rebounds will help improve on his 9.0 rebounds per game which ranks No. 7 in the NAIA.

The Bulldogs shot 49-percent from the field, including 40-percent (10-25) from three-point range. Union made 16-of-22 free throws (73%) in the game and out rebounded Bethel 48-28 (18-12 offensively).

Bethel was led by LeRoy Bell with 17 points. Leon Sewell added 13 points and Octavius Thompson scored 10 points. The Wildcats shot 40-percent from the field, 27-percent (6-22) from behind the arc, and 50-percent (8-16) from the free throw line.

Up next for Union will be the first home conference games of the season on Monday, January 7 versus Lyon College (Ark.). The women’s game starts at 6:00 pm followed by the men at 8:00 pm.

#UNION#


Steven Aldridge
Phone: (731) 661-5027
Sports Information
Fax: (731) 661-5182

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