JACKSON, Tenn. - 3/5/2005 - The Union University Bulldogs defeated Cumberland University (Tenn.) 75-69 in the semifinals of the TranSouth Conference Tournament. Union, ranked No. 12 in the NAIA and seeded #2 in the conference tournament, improved to 23-8 on the season. Cumberland, seeded #3 ends their season at 18-15.
Trevecca Nazarene, the top seed in the conference tournament and regular season co-champions with Union, was upset tonight at home by Lyon College 81-74. With that upset, Union will now host the TranSouth Championship game on Tuesday night, March 8 at 7:00 pm verus the #4 seed, Lyon College.
In tonight's game, Union led 31-28 at halftime after a back and forth first half. In the second half, Cumberland came out and scored the first four points to take a quick lead. Cumberland would lead for the majority of the next 13 minutes. With 7:03 left in the game, Cumberland's Matson made a three pointer to give Cumberland their biggest lead of the game at 57-52.
At that point, Union took over. Union rattled off nine unanswered points to take a 61-57 lead. Union would not trail again. Union outscored Cumberland 24-12 in the final seven minutes. Union's biggest lead was 11 points (74-63) with 59 seconds left. Cumberland made a three pointer in the final seconds to cut the final margin to seven points.
The game produced six ties and and 16 lead changes.
Union was led with four players in double figures. TranSouth Newcomer of the Year, Corey Burkett tallied 19 points including three 3-pointers. Bruno Martinessi scored 16 points, Marcus Cooper added 14 points, and Pierry Valmera added 12 points. Michael Palmer just missed a double-double as he played a solid game by posting nine points and nine boards. Union shot 50% from the field including 8-of-17 (.471) from behind the arc. Union made just 14-of-24 free throws, 7-of-14 during the final five minutes of the game.
Cumberland also put four players in double figures led by Hollis Hampton with a game-high 21 points and 12 rebounds. Tyler Jones added 15 points, Leroy Hickerson scored 13 points, and Sean Matson added 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting from behind the arc. Cumberland shot 39% from the field including 32% (9-29) from behind the arc. They made 6-of-7 free throws.
Union will host Lyon College on Tuesday night, March 8 at 7:00 pm for the TranSouth Tournament Championship. Both the Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs of Union are in their respective championship games. The Ladies will play at Freed-Hardeman on Monday night, March 7 at 7:00 pm.
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