By John Gatto
For the Mountain Advocate
BARBOURVILLE, Ky. – Union College forward Fitzgerald White (SR/Miami, Fla. ) scored a game-high 19 points and pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds, as the No. 18 Bulldogs raced past Reinhardt (Ga.) with a second half surge in a 94-78 victory in Appalachian Athletic Conference play on Sunday night at Robsion Arena.
The win, which was Union’s 17th in a row overall, enabled the Bulldogs to end the regular season with a 26-4 overall mark and 17-1 in the AAC. Reinhardt fell to 17-11, 9-9 in the AAC with the defeat.
Before the game, the Union College program also honored the 2014-15 Senior Class, as the game was the regular season finale for the Bulldogs. Those honored were: White, Deante Johnson (SR/Cincinnati, Ohio), Daniel Munkholm(SR/Arroyo de la Miel, Spain), Tyler Wagner (SR/Corbin, Ky. ), Cody Krueger (SR/La Cross, Wis.), Tremayne Elias(SR/Tallahassee, Fla. ), and Dominique Hagans (SR/Lexington, Ky.).
In the first half, Reinhardt was only able to hold a lead for 30 second early in the period, but the Eagles stayed within striking distance of the Bulldogs all half. Despite Union taking an 11 point lead at one point in the period (32-21), Reinhardt clawed back into the game, knotting it up at 43-43 with 30 seconds remaining.
But, Union was able to grab the lead back before the intermission, as T.J. Jones (JR/Spartanburg, S.C.) made a lay-up with two seconds left to give the Bulldogs a 45-43 edge over the Eagles at the half.
In the second half, Union was finally able to grab control of the contest. After Reinhardt cut the Bulldog lead down to one point (48-47) with 17:22 left, Union went on a run, racing on a 13-2 spurt to take a 61-49 lead with 12 minutes left.
Once Union went back up by double digits, Reinhardt could not catch up, as the closest the Eagles came to the lead the rest of the night was eight points (73-65). The Bulldogs continue to roll down the stretch, opening up an insurmountable 84-68 lead with five minutes left.
With the game in hand, each Bulldog senior that started the contest was able to be pulled out of the game, receiving a loud ovation from the crowd at Robsion Arena in the process, as Union coasted over the final moments of regulation to take another big win.
Overall, White led four double-digit scorers for Union with his 19-point effort. Elsewhere, fellow seniors Johnson and Hagans scored 17 points, apiece, (Hagans also dished out nine assists), while JD Tucker (JR/Charleston, S.C.) finished with 15 points.
By the Numbers
- ¥ Union will end the 2014-15 season with a 13-1 record inside Robsion Arena. Only one game was in the single digits by scoring margin, the Bulldogs’ loss to Milligan on Dec. 1 (70-69).
- ¥ Union will end the regular season winning 13 straight AAC contests. The Bulldogs have also now won 25 of their last 27 AAC regular season contests, as well.
- ¥ Tonight’s win was Union’s 23rd by double-figures on the 2014-15 season, 15th in the teams current 17-game winning streak. Since getting past Milligan by five points on Jan. 28 (79-74), Union has won eight straight by double-digits.
- ¥ Union’s 26 victories is already the second most in a season in program history, and marks just the 3rd time in history the Bulldogs have won over 25 games in a season (1967-68, 2013-14). Last season’s 28 wins is still the program-best.
- ¥ The Union defense shut down Reinhardt in the second half, as the Bulldogs outscored the Eagles, 49-35, in the final period. In all, the Bulldogs held the Eagles to just 39 percent shooting from the floor in the game (37.5 percent in the second half).
- ¥ Meanwhile, the Bulldogs sot 50.7 percent from the floor in the victory, 54.8 percent in the second period.
The Bulldogs open the 2015 Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament on Thursday and will be the number one seed. Union’s first game will tip-off at the Marriott MeadowView Convention Center at 12 noon.