JACKSON, Tenn. - 2/18/2006 - For the third straight time, and the second time this season, the Union University Bulldogs knocked of a No. 1 ranked Mountain State University Cougar team. The most recent time was an 83-78 win on Saturday in a snowy Jackson, Tenn. at Union's Fred-DeLay Gymnasium. Back in January of this year, Union topped then No. 1 Mountain State in 104-98 in overtime in Beckley, West Virginia to give the Cougars their only other loss of the season. Last season, Union defeated Mountain State 78-75 at Union when they were No. 1.
With this win, Union improved to 23-5 on the season, while Mountain State fell to 24-2 overall.
This day was scheduled to be Homecoming for Union University, however, due to the threat of winter weather, many of the Homecoming events were canceled. Despite the cold and icy weather outside, a near capacity crowd filled 'The Fred' to see this Top-25 battle. And a top-25 game is what the crowd witnessed. Combined in the game, nine players scored double-figures. Their were four ties and six lead changes in the contest. Both teams shot over 70 percent from the free throw line and over 43 percent from behind the arc.
In the first half, came out of the gate firing as they started the game with a 20-10 run to lead by 10 at the 10:46 mark in the first half. However, in game full of big runs, Mountain State proved they would not go away easy. The Cougars scored the next 12 points of the game to take a 22-20 lead at the 8:13 mark. Union and Mountain State swapped leads for the next three minutes. It was then that Union's senior guard, Corey Burkett, took over the half. At the 5:21 mark of the first half, Mountain State led 26-25, until Burkett sank a three pointer to put Union up 28-26. Over the final 5:21 of the first half, Bukett would sink a total of six three pointers to help Union to a 22-7 run to close the half, leading 47-33.
In the second half, Union stretched the lead to their biggest of the game at 16 points with 19:05 left to play as they led 53-37. However, like in the first half, Mountain State started to storm back. From that point, the Cougars posted a 23-8 run to cut the Union lead to 61-60 at the 10:17 minute mark. Union put a stop to the Mountain State run and would not give up the lead for the remainder of the game. Over the next four minutes Union and Mountain State swapped baskets, with Union keeping the lead. Then with just over six minutes left, Union posted a small 7-0 run to stretch their lead to nine points at 75-66 with 5:21 left. Over the final five minutes, Union held off Mountain State as they tried to rally late. The Cougars cut the lead to just two points at 78-76 with 37 seconds left, however a three point play by Kinley Sellers snapped a two-minute scoring drought for Union to help seal the win. Sellers added two more free throws with one second left to put the Bulldogs up for the 83-78 win.
Union was led by Corey Burket with 21 points including 7-of-11 three pointers in the game. Kinley Sellers added 17 points including two three pointers. Deywane Lee scored 15 points, Ben Frederick added 13 points, and Mack Bealim added 10 points. Union shot 43 percent form the field including 47 percent (9-19) from behind the arc. Union also made 22 of their 25 free throws in the game (88 percent).
Mountain State was led by Kakim Rusul and Donald Whitfield with 14 points each. Yusuf Baker added 13 points and Tihon Johnson scored 11 points. The Cougars shot 39 percent from the field including 43 percent from behind the arc (6-14). Mountain State made 22 of their 30 free throws (73 precent).
Union will play return to TranSouth Conference play on Thursday when they travel to Martin Methodist College (Tenn.) for an 8:00 pm tip time.
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