LEBANON, Ill. - 11/14/2008 - The Union University Bulldogs, ranked No. 12 in the NAIA, improved to 3-0 on the season with an 85-79 win over Pikeville (Ky.) College in the McKendree University Classic. Union continued their play against top NAIA teams as Pikeville entered the game 3-0 and receiving votes in the preseason rankings.
Union jumped out to a 10-0 lead to start the game. However, Pikeville (3-1) answered with an 8-0 run to cut the Union lead to just two points. The Bulldogs maintained a slight lead until Pikeville tied the game at 18-18, and then took their first lead of the game at 25-22 with 5:34 left in the first half. Union answered and led 34-31 with just seconds left in the half. Following an offensive foul called on Union, Pikeville’s Josh Samarco drained a three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game to the half, tied at 34-34.
In the second half, Union began to convert on offense as last season’s NAIA leading scorer Matt Neaville began to heat up. Neaville scored 20 of his game-high 30 points in the second half, including four of his six total three pointers. Union stretched their lead to as many as eight points late in the second half and used perfect free throw shooting from Neaville and Tacuma Alexander down the stretch to clinch the win.
The game featured 12 ties and six lead changes. The 10-point lead to start the game was Union’s biggest lead; while Pikeville’s largest lead was three points on three occasions.
Union was led by Neaville’s 30 points. Greg Truvillion added 18 points and Martez Hawkins scored 11 points. Bolivar, Tenn. native Brian Lake added a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Union shot 48-percent from the field, 39-percent (10-26) from behind the arc, and 65-percent (13-20) from the free throw line. Union shot 55-percent from the field in the second half, including 42-percent (5-12) from three-point-range.
Pikeville was led by Justin Hicks with 21 points, including 5-of-12 from behind the arc. Semarco added 16 points, JB Smiley scored 11 points, and Haakim Johnson scored 10 points. Pikeville shot 44-percent from the field, 41-percent from behind the arc (9-22), and 77-percent (10-13) from the free throw line.
Up next for Union will be yet another game versus a team ranked in the NAIA polls as Union will play the host team, No. 10 McKendree (Ill.) University at 7:00 pm on Saturday evening. The game can be heard in West Tennessee on 93.7 FM, not 97.7 FM as normal.
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