JACKSON, Tenn. - 3/8/2005 - The Union University Bulldogs captured the 2005 TranSouth Conference Tournament Championship on Tuesday with a 76-75 win over Lyon College. For the 12th ranked Bulldogs, this was their second TranSouth Championship in four season. Earlier this year, earned TranSouth Regular Season Co-Championship. With this win, Union improved to 24-8 on the season, while Lyon drops to 17-11.
This was a game that was back and forth from the beginning. Union led by as many as nine in the first half, but Lyon cut into the lead and trailed just 41-37 at halftime. Union came out in the second half and score the first basket on a jump shot by Pierry Valmera to give Union a six point lead at 43-37. This, however, would be Union's largest lead of the second half. Union went scoreless for the next six minutes as Lyon posted a 14-0 run to take a 51-43 lead. Lyon would lead by as many as nine points (58-49) with 11:20 left in the game.
Union's staring point guard, Marcus Cooper fouled out of the game game with 12 minutes left. Rod Ross entered the game and scored just two points, however, helped Union as he only committed one turnover in his 18 minutes of play off the bench.
With 11 minutes left, Union's Corey Burkett made a three pointers to cut the Lyon lead to just six. That started a 13-1 run for Union that gave them a 62-59 lead with 8:06 left. However, Lyon answered with a run of their own to regain a six point lead at 75-69 with 2:41 left.
Like the earlier run, Burkett made another three pointer to cut the lead to just three. Despite making just 3-of-10 free throws down the stretch, Union outscored Lyon 7-0 in the final 2:41 of the game. Sophomore center Ben Frederick gave Union the lead at 76-65 with 15 seconds left as he made both of his free throws.
Union was led by Pierry Valmeria with 21 points. Corey Burkett added 15 points on 3-of-6 three pointers. Bruno Martinessi scored 14 points including 2-of-4 from behind the arc. Union shot 54% from the field, including 38% (6-16) from behind the arc. Union made just 10-of-22 (.455) free throws.
Lyon was led by Dalun Smith with 20 points. Jonathan Donaldson and Norris Weintz added 17 points, while Jason Donaldson scored 14 points. Lyon shot 49% from the field including 56% (9-16) from behind the arc. Lyon made 10-of-18 (.609) from the free throw line.
Up next for Union will be an automatic bid to the NAIA National Tournament. This will be their seventh trip in the last eight years for Union's men.
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