JACKSON, Tenn. - 3/6/2010 - The No. 10 Union (Tenn.) University men’s basketball team will advance to the TranSouth Conference title game following their 75-67 win over Cumberland (Tenn.) University on Saturday. Union’s fourth straight win improved their record to 25-7 on the season. Cumberland ends their season with a 12-17 record.
Union led by 20 points with three minutes left in the contest, with the help of a 31-13 run that spanned both halves.
For Union, this will be their eighth appearance in the TranSouth title game in the 14-year history of the league. Union is 6-2 in title games and will look for their second straight on Tuesday, March 9 versus Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) at 7:00 p.m. This is the second straight year these two teams will meet for the title.
Top-seeded Union opened the semifinal game versus No. 5 seed Cumberland with a quick three pointers from Keith Tolliver. Lamar Brinkley answered with a three pointers for Cumberland to tie the game at 3-3. And so went the first 10 minutes of play. After five ties and five lead changes, Union led 19-18 at the 9:32 mark of the first half. Union closed out the half with a 14-6 run to take a 33-24 halftime lead, including a tip-in at the buzzer from Roland Banhoro.
In a matchup of the top two vote getters in the TranSouth Player of the year race, Union’s Greg Truvillion who finished second in the voting, managed a quick basket, but was out of action for the majority of the first half with foul trouble. Brandon Springer of Cumberland, who was voted as the player of the year, managed seven first-half points in 16 minutes, but also battled foul trouble.
In the second half, Union continued the momentum of their run that closed the first half. Union started the half with a 17-7 run to lead by 19 points, 50-31 with 16:03 left in game. Martez Hawkins had two three pointers during the run, while Stan McNeil capped the run with a three pointer of his own to send Union’s crowd into a frenzy. During the 13 minute stretch spanning the end of the first half and the start of the second half, Union outscored Cumberland 31-13.
Union maintained a double-figure lead and pushed their lead to 20 points, 72-52 with just 3:18 left in the game. Cumberland closed the final three minutes with a 15-3 run to cut the final score to single digits for the first time in since the beginning of the half.
The star watch saw Truvillion pick up 10 second half points to finish with 12, while Springer added 13 second half points and finished with a game-high 20 points.
Union was led with five players in double figures, including Banhoro with 16 points and eight rebounds. Antoine Joseph added 13 points, including three made baskets from long range. Martez Hawkins scored 13 points with two three pointers. Keith Tolliver joined Truvillion with 12 points each. Union shot 45 percent from the field, 47 percent (9-19) from behind the arc and 72 percent (18-25) from the free-throw line.
Cumberland was led by Springer with his 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the field. Brinkley added 16 points including two 3-pointers. Walter Simon scored 12 points. Cumberland shot 43 percent from the field, 36 percent (5-14) from behind the arc and 75 percent (12-16) from the free-throw line.
Union will face Freed-Hardeman for the third time this season in the title game on Tuesday. Union won the two regular season meetings, 84-75 in Henderson and 69-60 at Union. Union won the conference championship game last season 105-78 after losing both regular season meetings.
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