JACKSON, Tenn. - 2/3/2011 - The No. 14 Union (Tenn.) University men’s basketball team posted a 77-75 win over Bethel (Tenn.) University. Union improved to 19-4 overall and 8-1 in the TranSouth. Bethel dropped to 14-9 on the season and 3-6 in league play.
The win for Union was their seventh straight victory and 16th win in their last 17 games. The win also kept Union in a tie for first place with Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) and Martin Methodist (Tenn.).
The first half was a was closely played as neither team could pull away. The half featured four ties and seven lead changes. Union led by as many as five points, while Bethel held a four point lead as one point. Union was up 40-37 with 1:54 left in the half. However a five point spurt by Bethel’s Andre Crudup to close out the half put the Wildcats up 42-40 at the half. Crudup’s three pointer with 52 seconds left gave the guard 18 first half points for Bethel.
Union responded after trailing 46-42 three minutes into the second half. Union posted a 9-0 run to go up 51-46 with 13:10 to play in the game. Union maintained a lead and slow extended the cushion out to as many as nine points, the latest coming 68-59 with 4:55 left in the game.
Bethel did not go away and over the next three minutes, had cut Union’s lead down to just one point, 73-72, with 1:37 left. Union then got two free throws from senior Roland Banhoro on the next possession to put Union back up by three points, 75-72. After a couple of free throws from Union’s Antoine Joseph and a one-of-two free throw from Bethel’s Jarvis Palmer, Union led 77-73 with 30 second left. A turnover by Union set up a basket from Javis Williams to cut the deficit to 77-75. Another Union turnover set up a possible game-tying layup by Bethel, but the Wildcats could not convert. Union got the ball back, but missed two free throws to give Bethel one last shot. But a bad Wildcat pass allowed Union to come up with a steal and run the clock out for the 77-75 win.
Union was led by Stan McNeil with 18 points, including four three pointers. Antoine Hall added 16 points, Banhoro scored 11 points and Joseph added 10 points. Union shot 49 percent from the field, 37 percent (7-19) from behind the arc and 60 percent ( 12-20) from the free throw line.
Bethel was led by Crudup with a game-high 29 points, including 5-of-7 three pointers. Javis Williams added 15 points. The Wildcats shot 46 percent from the field, 64 percent (7-11) from long range and 67 percent (8-12) from the free throw line.
Up next for Union will be a game at No. 9 Martin Methodist (Tenn.) on Saturday, February 5 at 6:00 p.m. Martin Methodist is the only team to defeat Union in conference play and the only loss for Union in their past 17 games. Union led the home meeting with Martin Methodist by 11 at halftime, before a cold shooting second half halting the Bulldog offense.
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