NASHVILLE, Tenn. - 1/10/2008 - The No. 20 ranked Union University Bulldogs fell Thursday night on the road at No. 7 Trevecca Nazarene University (Tenn.), 77-68. Union dropped to 7-6 on the season and 1-2 in the TranSouth. The Trevecca Nazarene Trojans improved to 11-1 overall and 3-0 in league play.
The first half was 20 minutes of back-and-forth play that has become a custom when Union and Trevecca Nazarene meet in men’s basketball. Neither team could pull away. In the first 20 minutes, the game boasted eight ties and 15 lead changes (Union 8, Trevecca Nazarene 7). Trevecca Nazarene’s largest lead was two points in the first half, while Union managed a seven point advantage (30-23) at the 6:44 mark. The Trojans rallied and took a one point halftime lead, 38-37.
The second half began the same way the first half ended. One tie and four more lead changes occurred over the first eight minutes of play. At the 12:27 mark, Trevecca Nazarene took the lead for good at 50-48. The Trojans jumped up by as many at 14 points (65-51) with 7:25 left to play. Union proved a tough opponent with a rally to cut the Trojan lead to just four at 72-68 with 3:39 left to play on a three pointer by Tony Brown. Both teams were held scoreless over the next minute of play, when Union’s Matt Neaville went to the line with a chance to cut into the four-point Trojan lead. Neaville, the NAIA’s leading scorer at 28 points per game, missed his first two free throws of the night after making his first six attempts. Union never recovered as Trevecca Nazarene pushed the final score back nine points, 77-68.
“I told the guys I was proud of their effort and love the way they battled back”, said Union head Coach Ralph Turner following the contest. “We didn’t shoot well but had chances to win the game.” The Bulldogs chances came despite the team shooting just 37-percent from the field.
Union was led by Tony Brown with 20 points on 4-of-6 shooting from behind the arc. Brian Lake added 13 points, while Neaville posted 10 points. Lake and Neaville combined for just 2-of-23 from behind the arc. Union made 8-of-38 three pointers for just 21-percent, but shot well from the free throw line, making 8-of-11 for 73-percent. Union out rebounded the Trojans 47 to 31, including 20 to 6 on the offensive glass.
Trevecca Nazarene was led by Collins Onyando and Brian Odour with 17 points each. Rick James added 14 points and Matthew Elliot scored 10 points. The Trojans leading scorer, like Union’s, was also held in check as Josh Helton posted four points on a 19 points per game average. The Trojans shot 54-percent from the field, including 24-percent (4-17) from three-point range. Trevecca Nazarene made just 50-percent of their free throws (13-26).
Up next for Union will be a home game versus cross-town rival No. 12 Lambuth University (Tenn.) on Saturday, January 12. The men’s game will start at 4:00 pm preceded by the women’s game at 2:00 pm.
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