JACKSON, Tenn. - 1/25/2007 - The Union University Bulldogs and the Lambuth University Eagles played game one of the 2007 version of the rivalry at Lambuth on Thursday night. This round went to the Eagles, 85-76. Union, ranked No. 11, dropped to 13-6 on the season and 6-2 in the TranSouth, while No. 8 Lambuth improved to 17-3 overall and 7-1 in the league.
This game showcased two of the top teams in the NAIA, who happen to be just a few miles apart in the city of Jackson. Union and Lambuth are cross-town rivals but this meeting meant so much more as the two teams are both ranked among the top teams in the NAIA. Also, to add even more flavor to this game is the fact that Lambuth has re-joined Union in the same conference and both teams were locked in a tie for first place in the TranSouth Standings.
In a first half that saw three ties and seven lead changes, Union and Lambuth went back and forth in front of a packed house. Union jumped out first with a 15-10 lead at the 14:47 mark on a three pointer by Brian Lake. Lambuth quickly answered by posted a 10-0 run over the next three minutes to take a 20-15 lead in the game with 11:46 left in the half. Union clawed their way back to take a short-lived 27-26 lead with just over six minutes left in the half. However, it was Lambuth closing out the half with a 42-38 lead.
Union shot 50-percent from the field in the first half, including 3-of-7 (43-percent) from behind the arch. Lambuth managed just 38-percent shooting, but sank 6-of-16 three pointers (38-percent). Lambuth forced 12 first half turnovers by Union, as the Eagles committed just seven in the first 20 minutes.
The second half, Union again came out strong and as they opened play with an 11-4 run to take a 49-46 lead with 15:20 left in the game. However, a stretch of three straight three pointers helped shooting Lambuth back into the lead. The Eagles controlled the remainder of the second as they never lost the lead. However, Union kept battling as the Bulldogs pulled to with one point on several occasions (52-51 at 13:32, 65-64 at 7:08, and 70-69 at 4:51). Alan North converted a three-point play for Union to pull the Bulldogs to within one at 70-69, however, Union just couldn’t get over the top as Lambuth closed the game with a 15-7 run to win 85-76.
Union shot 52-percent from the field, including 40-percent (6-15) from three point range. The Bulldogs made just 12-of-20 from the free throw line. Lambuth shot 39-percent from the field and 39-percent (12-31) from behind the arc. The Eagles made 17-24 free throws, including 13-of-18 in the second half. Lambuth forced 23 Union turnovers in the game, while the Eagles committed just 11. Union out-rebounded Lambuth 39-32, but Lambuth won the offensive rebound battle 14-8.
The game boasted five ties and nine lead changes. Lambuth’s biggest lead was 10 points in the final minute of play, while Union’s biggest lead was five points. Union played with just eight players as starting guard Tony Brown missed the game with flu-like symptoms.
Union was led by Mack Bealim with a game-high 27 points, including 16 in the first half. Deywane Lee added 14 points and 14 rebounds, while sophomore reserve North posted 11 points off the bench. Lambuth was paced by Ivan Jenkins with 23 points including 5-of-11 from three point range. Jeremy Weddle added 21 points, including 15 in the second half. Foluke Tobin scored 13, Steve Gray added 12, and Kierren Lovick scored 11 points for the Eagles.
Up next for Union will be a TranSouth match-up this Saturday, January 27 when the Bulldogs host Martin Methodist at Fred DeLay Gymnasium at 4:00 pm. Union will try to snap their two-game skid, both to NAIA Top-8 teams, and keep pace in the TranSouth standings.
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