JACKSON, Tenn. - 3/1/2007 - The Union University Bulldogs, ranked No. 12 in the final NAIA National Rankings, defeated Freed-Hardeman University 76-58 in the quarterfinal round of the TranSouth Conference Tournament. Union, seeded No. 2 in the tournament, moved to 22-8 on the year. The seventh seeded Freed-Hardeman Lions ended the season 9-23.
Union’s men have now won nine of their last 10 games.
The Bulldogs opened the game with a 7-0 run but saw Freed-Hardeman rally back to cut the lead to three points on numerous occasions during the first half. Over the opening 20 minutes of play, Union led by as many as eight points in the game, before settling for a 38-32 halftime lead.
The second half started with Freed-Hardeman scoring five of the first six points on their way to a 10-3 run to start the half and take their first lead at 42-41. Union answered back and regained the lead with the help of back-to-back three pointers by Ryan Merriman. A few possessions later, another long distance jumper by Brian Lake put separation between Union and the Lions. Union, who struggled to make free throws early in the second half, made them down the stretch to help seal the win.
Union shot 43-percent from the field including 41-percent (7-of-17) from behind the arc. The Bulldogs finished the game making 66-percent (23-35) free throws.
Freed-Hardeman managed just 29-percent shooting from the field and just 10-percent (3-of-29) from three point range. The Lions made 13-of-15 free throws for 87-percent.
Union was led by Brian Lake with 20 points including 4-of-8 shooting from behind the arc. Mack Bealim added 13 points and nine rebounds. Pierry Valmera scored 11 points, while Deywane scored 10 points and grabbed nine boards. Tacuma Alexander missed a near double-double also with eight points and nine boards.
Freed-Hardeman was led by Zack Frey with 12 points, while Logan Greer added nine points and nine rebounds.
Up next for Union will be a semifinal match-up with the No. 3 seeded Lambuth University Eagles. The game will be Saturday night at 7:00 pm at Union’s Fred DeLay Gymnasium. Union and Lambuth split the regular season series with each team winning on their home court. The teams also tied for the second place spot in the regular season standings. Both teams are assured a spot in the NAIA Men’s National Tournament; however, each would love nothing more than to capture a TranSouth Tournament Championship, a title that Union has won in each of the last two seasons.
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