JACKSON, Tenn. - 3/9/2010 - The No. 10 Union (Tenn.) University men’s basketball captured their second straight TranSouth Conference Tournament title with a 75-65 win over Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) University. Union gets ready for a trip to Kansas City for their 13th appearance in the NAIA National Tournament.
This was the fifth straight win for Union and their seventh TranSouth Tournament title in the 14-year history of the league. This is also the third time that Union has posted back-to-back titles (1998 & 1999, 2005 & 2006, 2009 & 2010). Union is the only TranSouth team to pull the back-to-back feat.
In the title game, Union (26-7) used their NAIA leading field goal defense (.374) to secure the win, allowing Freed-Hardeman (22-11) just 65 points and 39 percent shooting. Union has not allowed more that 67 points in any of their past 13 games, going 12-1 in that stretch.
Since Christmas, Union is 18-3. In those 21 games, Union has not allowed more than 75 points in any game. Only three times in that stretch of 21 games has Union allowed an opponent to score 70 points, with all three of those occurrences coming in the month of January. Seventeen times since Christmas, Union has held their opponents to under 40 percent shooting from the field.
The game started with a basket from Freed-Hardeman’s Kirtiss Brown. One tie and four lead changes later, Ken Bingham had the Lions leading 7-6 at the 15:44 mark.
On Union’s next possession, Greg Truvillion put back his own miss to give Union an 8-7 lead and started a 17-4 run in the process. A three pointer from Tacuma Alexander for Union capped the run, giving Union a 23-11 lead with 9:11 left to play in the half.
Union maintained the lead for the remainder of the contest.
Freed-Hardeman cut the deficit down to five points, 34-29, but Union finished the half with a 38-31 lead.
In the second half, the Union lead remained between six and 10 points for the first six minutes of play. With Union holding a 49-39 lead at the 13:47 mark, Freed-Hardeman’s Zach Frey started a 7-0 run that cut Union’s lead down to 49-46 with 13:00 minutes to play.
Union, as they had all night, provided an answer to any run that the Lions made and pushed their lead back to eight points. Freed-Hardeman again tried to mount a comeback and did get as close as 58-56 with 8:33 left, but Antoine Joseph answered to put Union up by four, 60-56.
With four minutes left, a three pointer from Jesse Moulton got the Lions to within two points, 67-65 with 4:06 left to play. However, that was the last points of the night for Freed-Hardeman as Union sealed the win with a basket from Truvillion and six free throws down the stretch.
Union had four players in double figures led by senior Keith Tolliver with 16 points. Roland Banhoro, Truvillion and Alexander each scored 13 points. Martez Hawkins dished out eight assists while Joseph and Truvillion led with seven rebounds. Union shot 49 percent from the field, 24 percent (5-21) from behind the arc and 64 percent (14-22) from the free-throw line.
Freed-Hardeman was led by Bingham with a game-high 20 points. Frey added 17 points and Moulton scored 14 points. Bingham’s seven rebounds led the Lions. Freed-Hardeman shot 39 percent from the field, 22 percent (5-23) from behind the arc and 86 percent (12-14) from the free throw line.
Up next for Union will be the NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. starting on March 17.
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