JACKSON, Tenn. - 11/29/2008 - In an attempt to sweep the season series with their second top-10 team of the year, No. 12 Union University fell to No. 9 McKendree (Ill.) University 67-66. Union won the earlier meeting at McKendree 83-80 in overtime. Union had already defeated No. 2 Robert Morris (Ill.) College twice on the season to put their record versus top-10 teams to 3-1 on the season.
Union posted their lowest shooting numbers on the season with just 66 total points, including a 20-point first half in the loss.
McKendree opened the game on a 9-0 run before Union scored their first points of the game on a basket from Roland Banhoro at the 14:35 mark. Union trailed by as many as 14 points, before cutting the halftime deficit down to nine points, 29-20.
In the second half, Union started to chip away. With 11:50 left in the game, Union took their first lead at 44-43. After swapping baskets for several possessions, Union was able to stretch their lead to seven points on two occasions. Union led 61-54 with 3:57 left in the game. However, a 9-1 run by McKendree gave the Bearcats a one point lead at 63-62 with 1:43 left.
The teams again swapped baskets on the next two possessions, when McKendree found themselves leading 65-64 with 1:06 left. Antoine Joseph then sank two free throws for Union after being fouled on a lay up attempt to give Union a 66-65 lead with 19 seconds left. However, McKendree's leading scorer and free throw shooter Eric Palm drove the lane and drew a foul with six seconds left. Palm, an 85-percent free throw shooter, sank both foul shots to give his team the lead. Union's Tacuma Alexander's took the ball the length of the court, but had his running lay up blocked by McKendree to seal the win for the Bearcats.
Union was led by Matt Neaville with 19 points, 15 of which came in the second half. Brian Lake added a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Greg Truvillion added 11 points. Union shot just 34-percent from the field, 27-percent (4-15) from behind the arc, and 64-percent (16-25) from the free throw line.
McKendree was led by Eric Palm with 21 points and Eric Hobbie with 20 points. McKendree shot 43-percent from the field, 28-percent (5-18) from behind the arc, and 88-percent (14-16) from the free throw line.
Up next for Union will be a conference game on Thursday, December 4 at 8:00 pm when Union will host Bethel (Tenn.) College.
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