JACKSON, Tenn. - 3/3/2006 - The Union University Bulldogs rallied from a 17-point second half deficit to earn a 104-103 overtime win over Cumberland University (Tenn.) in the opening round of the TranSouth Conference Tournament. Union, seeded #2 in the tournament, improved to 26-5 on the season. Cumberland, seeded #7 finished their season 5-26 on the year.
On a night when the other two first round games in the TranSouth Conference Tournament produced upsets, Union found themselves on the verge of the same fate. Cumberland led by as many as seven points in the first half, including their 44-37 halftime lead over Union. Cumberland used an outstanding first half shooting performance as they made 63 percent from the field and 30 percent (3-of-10) from behind the arc.
In the second half, Cumberland managed to keep up the pace of the first half as they stretched the lead to 17 points (72-55) with 9:15 left in the game. At that point, Union joined the shooting festivities as they started to mount their comeback. Remember, just seven days ago, Union rallied from a 13-point deficit at Martin Methodist with six minute left to earn the win. Trailing by 17 points, Union went on a 15-4 run, capped off on a three pointer by Corey Burkett to cut the Cumberland lead to just six points with 5:44 left in regulation. Cumberland then quickly, extended the lead back to 13 points (85-72) with 4:22 left. For most teams, that second run by Cumberland would have doused most teams' comeback efforts. However, Union continued to shoot their way back into the game as they outscored Cumberland 23-10 over the final 4:22 of the first half. Union actually took a lead of three points at 93-90 and 95-92 with 12 seconds left. But the amazing shots for Cumberland just kept coming as Chase Burnett sank a 30-foot three pointer in the final seconds of regulation to send the game into overtime. Burnett scored a game-high 28 points including an amazing 7-of-8 from behind the arc.
In overtime, Union went down by three points on another three pointer by Burnett. Union fought back again to tie the game at 103-103 with 2:16 left in overtime. After both teams finally swapped a few missed baskets each, Union had the ball for the final 20 seconds. Corey Burkett and Dewayne Lee both missed shots that would have given Union the lead, however, Ben Frederick was able to grab the second offensive rebound of the possession and was fouled attempting his put back. Frederick sank the first of two free throws with just two second left on the clock. He then missed the second shot on purpose as time expired before Cumberland could get off a shot.
In the second half and overtime, both teams put on an amazing display of shooting. Cumberland shot 61 percent from the field and 82 percent (9-of-11) from behind the arc. Union sank 61 percent from the field and 36 percent (5-of-14) from behind the arc in the second half.
For the game, Cumberland shot 62 percent from the field, 57 percent (12-21) from behind the arc, and 64 percent (7-of-11) from the charity stripe.
Union managed 54 percent from the field, 33 percent (8-of-24) from behind the arc, and 68 percent (16-24) from the free throw line.
Union was led by Ben Frederick with 27 points. Deywane Lee posted his third straight double-double with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Kinley Sellers added 19 points, Corey Burkett scored 14 points, and Pierry Valmera added 10 points.
Cumberland was led by Chase Burnett with 28 points, Yanis Invanovskis added 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Joseph Northington scored 17 points.
Union will advance to play Freed-Hardeman on Saturday night at 7:00 pm at Union's Fred DeLay Gymnasium for a semifinal match up. Union won the two regular season meetings versus Freed-Hardeman, 91-64 in Henderson and 76-51 at Union.
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