WALESKA, Ga. - Union College forward Deante Johnson scored a game-high 25 points, but it wasn't enough, as Reinhardt (Ga.) used a late second half rally to defeat the Bulldogs, 100-92 in Appalachian Athletic Conference action on Thursday night.
With the loss, UC fell to 7-7 overall on the year, 1-2 in the AAC, while Reinhardt moved to 6-6, 3-0 in the AAC with the victory.
"Obviously, the difference was the turnover and free throw margins," said head coach Kevin Burton. "But, despite those problems, I was encouraged with our performance. We competed hard in a tough environment, on the road. We made some strides forward even though we came up short tonight."
In the first half, Union opened up a lead in the game's outset, jumping out to a 18-10 lead at the 14 minute mark after Johnson nailed a free throw. Over the next couple of minutes, Reinhardt fought back, and tied the game up at 22-22 with 10:58 left after a 12-4 run.
From there in the first half, it was a back-and-forth affair, with game being tied three more times throughout the next 10 minutes. Union, however, scored the final four points of the period, capped off by a Matthew Thomas jumper with 31 seconds left that gave the Bulldogs a slim 40-38 lead going into intermission.
To start the second half, Reinhardt tied the game right back up at 40-all 21 seconds into the period. A few minutes later, with the game tied at 50-50, UC went on a run, opening up their biggest lead since early in the first half with 13:46 left (60-53) after a Josh Smith jumper.
After Reinhardt went on a small run to get the lead down to a point (60-59) over the next minute and a half, Union came right back, opening the lead up to 69-61 with 10:50 left after a Tarik Smith three-pointer. With 9:31 left, UC continued to hold a lead (71-64) after a Johnson jumper, but this was the point in the game where Reinhardt began their comeback, quickly tying the game up for the ninth time at 71-all with 8:25 left.
For the next couple of minutes the lead swung back and forth, eventually leading to it being tied for the 12th time on the night with 5:46 left (76-76). Here, Johnson made a free throw to give UC a 77-76 advantage.
After Reinhardt made a bucket seconds after UC took the lead to go up 78-77, the Eagles never gave up the lead the rest of the way. With 2:38 left, Union cut the lead down to a point (85-84) after Thomas made one-of-two free throws, but Reinhardt scored on their next trip down the floor to go up three (87-84) and forced a turnover on UC's next trip down the floor.
From there, Reinhardt salted the game away at the free throw line, pulling away from the Bulldogs to record an eight-point home conference win.
Overall, Johnson led the way for Union in his first official action on the 2012-13 season for the Bulldogs, getting to 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the floor on the night. He also snatched 13 rebounds to record a double-double.
Johnson led four double-digit scorers on the night for UC, as Tarik Smith added 19 points, Thomas had 17, and Tyler Wagner and Josh Smith each chipped in with 10 points, apiece.
For Reinhardt, Quinton Wood led the way, scoring 21 points.
The Bulldogs return to action on Saturday, hosting Montreat (N.C.) in another AAC contest at Robsion Arena. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.