'Dogs fall on buzzer-beater at Union
LEBANON, Tenn. – Brian Lake’s 3-pointer at the buzzer gave fifth-ranked Union University a 77-76 victory over No. 15 Cumberland Thursday night in Jackson, Tenn., in a seesaw affair between two of the top clubs in the nation.
Union used a 15-3 run late in the first half to take the lead and stayed in front for almost the entire second half, as Cumberland (11-2) kept closing the gap but could not retake the lead. But Rontreal Braxton finally put the Bulldogs ahead in the second half with a 3-pointer with 2:01 remaining, his fourth trifecta of the contest.
Martez Hawkins missed a 3-pointer for Union on its next possession, but Quentin Turner missed his own trifecta for CU. Matt Neaville failed to hit on a 3-pointer for Union and then threw the ball out of bounds with 15 seconds remaining.
Union fouled Mario Stowers, who hit 1-of-2 at the foul line for the Bulldogs, leaving the slight opening for the home team. Lake’s 3-pointer at the buzzer was the dagger that gave Union the victory in a well-played game by both clubs that featured just 19 turnovers between the two squads with both shooting better than 50 percent.
Cumberland got just three points from its bench in the contest, two from Rodney James and Stowers’ one free throw, but the five starters all scored in double figures. Thomas Douglas hit five 3-pointers and scored a team-high 20 points, while Braxton added 19.
Kenneth Simms and Turner both scored 12 and Brandon Springer added 10 points and 10 boards. CU’s only issue of the game came at the foul line, where it hit just 8-of-17.
Neaville led all scorers with 26 points, though only five in the second half, while Antoine Joseph added 17 and Lake netted 11.
Union put together a 15-3 run over the final minutes of the first half to take a 49-41 advantage into intermission. Union shot an astounding 63 percent (20-for-32) from the field in the half and Cumberland was near 60 percent for most of the half but still finished the first 20 minutes at 52 percent.
CU led for most of the half and held a 38-34 edge with 5:14 remaining before Union started its run with Joseph making two free throws. Neaville hit two baskets, including a 3-pointer, and Lake added two buckets.
Neaville was lights out in the half, knocking down 8-of-12 shots and scoring 21 points.
The Bulldogs were 8-for-14 from 3-point range in the half. Douglas netted 12 points, including hitting a trio of trifectas, while Turner and Braxton both added a pair of 3-pointers.
The Bulldogs travel to Mid-Continent Saturday for a 4 p.m. matchup before returning home to face Lyon College Monday at 8 p.m.