JACKSON, Tenn. - 11/3/2007 - The No. 19 Union University men's basketball team opened their 2007-08 season with an 86-84 win over No. 11 Campbellsville University (Ky.). Union (1-0) held on after leading by as many as 20 points to send Campbellsville to their first loss of the year.
Union scored first on a basket by sophomore Tacuma Alexander. After the Campbellsville Tigers tied the game at 2-2, Union posted a 22-5 run sparked by three pointers from Brian Lake and Alexander. The Tigers answered to cut the Union lead back to 10 points, but Union then used another run of 12-2 to jump out to their largest lead of the game at 20 points. Union held the 20-point lead (47-27) with 4:12 left in the first half when Campbellsville posted a 15-2 run to close out the half and cut Union's lead to just seven points at 49-42.
In the second half, Campbellsville continued to maintain the momentum and tied the game just two minutes into the half. However, the Union Bulldogs proved they would bend but not break as Union never trailed in the contest. Campbellsville tied the game four different times in the second half, with the last coming 79-79 with 2:13 remaining. Union's Alexander sank two free throws, followed by one made free throw by Campbellsville's Devon Jenkins to put the Union lead at 81-80. Over the next 60 seconds, both teams swapped field goals and with 29 seconds left, Union's lead was still one at 85-84. After a missed free throw by Campbellsville, Matt Neaville made the second of two free throws to give Union the two point advantage. Campbellsville would struggle to get off a shot in the final seconds, when finally, a shot at the buzzer fell short.
Union was led in the game by Matt Neaville with 22 points including five three pointers. Brian Lake and Tacuma Alexander added 19 points each. Ryan Merriman scored 14 and Tony Brown added 10 points. Merriman posted a game-high 15 rebounds. Union shot 41-percent from the field and just 28-percent (9-32) from behind the arc. In the first half, Union made 9-of-18 three pointers, but then went 0-of-14 from behind the arc in the final 20 minutes. From the free throw line, Union was 13-of-17 for 76-percent.
Campbellsville was led by Marcus Nicks with 22 points, including six three pointers. Nestor Colmenares scored 19 points, Devon Jenkins scored 15 points, and Jordan Benock posted 12 points. The Tigers shot 45-percent from the field, 36-percent (12-33) from three point range, and just 42-percent (8-19) from the free throw line. The Tigers missed several free throws down the stretch that could have either tied or give them the lead.
Up next for Union will be another challenge versus a ranked team as the Bulldogs travel to No. 15 Oklahoma Baptist University on Saturday, November 10 at 3:30 pm.
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