JACKSON, Tenn. - 2/25/2006 - For the second straight season and fifth time in the TranSouth's 10-year history, the Union University Bulldogs are conference champions. Union closed out their regular season with a 71-56 win over Freed-Hardeman to finish 25-5 overall and 9-3 in league play. Freed-Hardeman fell to 10-20 overall and 3-9 in the conference.
Just like last season, Union finished the regular season in a tie for first play with Trevecca Nazarene as both teams posted a 9-3 conference mark. Trevecca Nazarene will take the No. 1 seed and Union will have the No. 2 seed in next week's TranSouth Tournament becuase the Trojans beat Union in head-to-head competition.
In tonight's win over Freed-Hardeman, Union stuggled early to get any offense going as the Bulldogs and Lions battle in a first half that saw Union take as 30-26 halftime lead. In the earlier meeting at Freed-Hardeman, Union started the game on an 18-0 run and ended up winning 91-64.
The second half saw Union play more like the team that has beaten 13 ranked teams this season and has been in the top 10 in nine of the 10 national rankings. Union outscored Freed-Hardeman 46-25 in the second half led by the shooting of Kinly Sellers and Marcus Cooper.
In a season in which Union has boasted six players in double figures all seaosn long, the balanced scoring continued as five players reached the double figure mark in points versus Freed-Hardeman. Deywane Lee led with 13 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the year. Marcus Cooper added 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting from behind the arc. Ben Frederick scored 13 points, Kinley Sellers added 11 points, and Corey Burkett scored 10 points. Union shot 47 percent from the fiel, including 36 percent (9-25) from behind the arc.
Freed-Hardeman was led by Josh Haislip with eight points. The Lions shot just 28 precent from the field and 28 percent (7-25) from behind the arc.
In the game, both teams stuggled greatly from the charity strip. Union shot just 47 percent (9-19) while Freed-Hardeman made just 38 percent (6-16).
Union will begin play in the TranSouth Tournament with a first round match-up versus Cumberland on Thursday night, March 2 at 7:00 pm at Union. With a win, Union will advance to the semifinal game at Union on Saturday, March 4 versus the winner of the Lyon/Freed-Hardeman game.
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