BARBOURVILLE, Ky. --
Union College's Carlos Sanford
scored a team-high 21 points to ignite a late second half rally by the Bulldogs, as UC pulled out an 87-80 win over Berea in NAIA men's basketball action on Friday evening at Robsion Arena.
With the win, Union moved to 3-5 on the season, while Berea dropped to 0-8 with the loss.
In the first period, Union took an early 13-8 lead in the first five minutes after a Brent Cork
(Saginaw, Mich.) lay-in at the 15:39 mark. The Bulldogs continued to keep up the pace over the next five minutes, eventually taking their biggest lead of the half with 11:02 left at 22-13 after Josh Smith
(Corbin, Ky.) drained two free throws.
Berea, however, went on a run a few minutes later, and took their first lead of the night with 4:56 left in the period after a Josh Clark lay-in made it 30-29, Mountaineers. Union took the lead back with two minutes left at 33-32, but Berea scored the final five points of the half, and held a 37-33 lead into the locker room for intermission.
To start the second half, Berea came out and was the aggressor, taking their biggest lead of the night with 16:01 left at 51-41 after a Harry Cross lay-in. Over the next six minutes, Berea held the lead, and was up 59-51 with 10:18 left after a Josh Clark lay-in.
It was here that the Bulldogs went on the 11-2 run that gave them back the lead for the first time since the latter stages of the first half. The run was punctuated by a Josh Hurd
(Independence, Ky.) lay-in that gave UC a 62-61 lead with 7:18 left.
Berea quickly answered, and took the lead back at 63-62, but Sanford (Durham, N.C.) knocked down a jumper with 6:39 left that gave Union a 64-63 lead. The lead Berea had at 63-62 was their last of the evening, but they continued to fight the Bulldogs throughout the rest of the half. Union finally put the Mountaineers away with 2:38 left, taking a 76-69 lead after another Hurd lay-in.
Berea made one more run late, getting it down to 82-80 with 30 second left. but the Mountaineers misfired on some desperation three's over the final 30 second that would've either tied the game or given them the lead. Union then salted the game away at the free throw line, escaping with a seven-point home win.
Overall, Sanford's 21-point night was his highest since joining the team. He also recorded seven assists, and shot an impressive 10-of-12 from the free throw line.
Other double-digit scorers on the night for Union included Smith, who finished with 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor, and Hurd, who had 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting. In the second half, Union shot a torrid 62.1 percent from the floor, and finished the game shooting 50.8 percent.
For Berea, Harry Cross led all scorers with 27 points in the defeat.
Union returns to action tomorrow when they open their 2011-12 AAC slate with a home tilt with Reinhardt. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. at Robsion Arena.