JACKSON, Tenn. - 1/19/2008 - The Union University men posted their second straight win with an 81-77 victory over No. 14 Martin Methodist College (Tenn.). Union improved to 9-7 on the season and 3-3 in the TranSouth. Martin Methodist dropped to 14-3 overall and 5-2 in the TranSouth.
For the first time since the final poll of 2003 (52 straight national rankings), the Union men find themselves out of the NAIA rankings. However, this week, Union has defeated No. 23 Cumberland and No. 14 Martin Methodist to help the Bulldogs regain some of it's national recognition.
In the first half, Martin Methodist scored first and then held a 6-4 lead at the 16:24 mark. Union posted a 9-0 run to take a lead would never trail again. The Bulldogs of Union built their biggest lead of the first half up to nine points (18-9) on a three pointer by Tony Brown with 10:59 left in the half. Union found themselves in foul trouble with Matt Neaville and Brian Lake each getting two fouls in the first half. With two of Union's top scorers on the bench for most the final 10 minutes of the first half, Martin Methodist started to rally. With a basket by Kevin Green in the final minute of the first half, the RedHawks had pulled to within one. Union held a 27-26 halftime advantage.
The second half opened with a basket by Union's Roland Bonhoro, followed by a three pointer by Martin Methodist's Jacob McKissack. The game was tied at 29-29 in the first minute of play of the second half. Union responded with a 14-4 run over the next four-plus minutes to distance themselves from the RedHawks at 43-33. Union slowly added to their lead that reached a game-high 13-points on five occasions in the second half. The latest 13-point Union advantage came 71-58 with just 3:08 left to play. However, Martin Methodist proved to be a tough team to the end as the RedHawks used eight straight points from Mark Mangum, including two three pointers to cut into the Union lead. Martin Methodist got to within four points three different times in the final minute of play, but couldn't get any closer. Union made 6-of-6 free throws in the final 30 seconds to help seal the win. Union led by eight points, 81-73, with just 15 seconds left before two quick baskets by Martin Methodist cut the final score down to 81-77.
Union was led by Brian Lake with 20 points and Matt Neaville with 19 points. Lake and Neaville had just two and three points respectively at the half. Tony Brown added 16 points, while Ryan Merriman and Roland Bonhoro posted 11 points each. Union shot 54-percent from the field, including 35-percent (8-23) from behind the arc. The Bulldogs also made 19-of-28 free throws for 68-percent.
Martin Methodist was led by Jacob Mckissack with 17 points. Mark Mangum and Carlton Peete added 13 points each, followed by Kevin Green with 11 points and Kendaris Pelton with 10 points. The RedHawks shot 39-percent from the field, 28-percent (9-32) from behind the arc, and 75-percent (12-16) from the free throw line.
Up next for Union will be a road conference game at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee on Thursday, January 24. The men will play at 8:00 pm preceded by the women's game at 6:00 pm.
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