BRISTOL, Va. - Union College forward Deante Johnson scored a career high 26 points, as the Bulldogs used a late second half comeback to knock off Virginia Intermont, 105-103, in Appalachian Athletic Conference men's basketball action on Tuesday night.
With the victory, Union improved to 7-2 overall. 4-1 in the AAC, while VI fell to 1-4 on the year, 0-2 in the AAC with the defeat.
In the first period, the Bulldogs were the aggressor early, leaping out to a 27-17 lead at the 12-minute mark. Virginia Intermont, however, clawed their way back in it over the remainder of the period, taking their first lead of the night with three minutes remaining, (42-40). After Union grabbed back the lead at 51-46 with 1:40 left, VI ended the half on a 6-0 run to take a slim 52-51 lead into the locker room for halftime.
In the second half, things continued to remain close, but the host Cobras were able to take a lead and hold on to it for the majority of the half. With 6:30 left in regulation, VI went up 90-82 on the Bulldogs, which matched the biggest lead of the night for VI.
Here, the Bulldogs punched back. Over the next three minutes, Union went on a 11-2 run to take the lead at 93-92, capped off a Tarik Smith three-pointer. After the lead swung back and forth for a minute and a half, VI tied the game for the tenth time at 95-all with 1:38 remaining.
On Union's next possession, Tyler Wagner nailed a three-pointer, giving the Bulldogs a 98-95 lead with 1:25 left. After VI made a pair of free throws on their next possession to knock the Union lead down to 98-97, Wagner made another huge three, giving the Bulldogs a four-point edge at 101-97.
In the last 33 seconds, VI was able to get within a basket on two separate occasions. But, each time, Union's Michael Bueter went to the free throw line and converted, making four free throws down the stretch to clinch the road conference win for the Bulldogs.
Overall, Johnson shot the basketball extremely well in his career-high night, going 11-of-13 from the floor. Johnson also snatched six rebounds in the victory, as well.
Elsewhere, junior Fitzgerald White had equally as impressive of a night as Johnson did, scoring 24 points. Smith ended the evening with 19 points, Bueter chipped in with 13 points, and Sean Brown rounded out the double-digit scorers on the night with 12 points.
For VI, Joshua Hart led the way, scoring 23 points.
By the Numbers
- Johnson just got past his career high in points on the night with 26. Last season, the senior forward scored 24 points on two separate occasions, and scored over 20 points in six games.
- White, who returned to the line-up this evening after sitting out the Truett-McConnell game on Saturday nursing an injury, has now scored in double-figures in seven of the eight games he has played in on the year.
- Union cracked the 100-point barrier for the fourth time in five games in the victory and for the sixth time total on the season.
The Bulldogs are now idle until Dec. 4 when they host AAC-rival Tennessee Wesleyan at home. Tip-off at Robsion Arena is set for 7:30 p.m.