LAURINBURG, N.C. - Union College’s Tarik Smith (Tempe, Ariz.) and Tyler Wagner (Corbin, Ky.) scored 25 points, apiece, as the Bulldogs used a big second half to cruise past St. Andrews (N.C.), 102-81, on Wednesday night in Appalachian Athletic Conference action.
With the win, Union improved to 9-11 overall, 3-6 in the AAC, and snapped a four-game losing streak. St. Andrews fell to 0-17 with the defeat, 0-7 in the AAC.
In the first half, Union opened up a six point lead (24-18) with about nine minutes to go in the half after Tyrell Hall (Birmingham, Ala.) nailed a three-pointer. However, St. Andrews went on a big run over the next eight minutes, on their way to eventually taking a double-digit lead (41-31) with a minute and a half left in the period.
But, Union ended the half strong, going on a 6-0 run at the end of the period to cut the St. Andrews lead to 41-36 at intermission. The last basket of the half was scored by Tarik Smith, who made a jumper with 42 seconds left.
In the second half, the Bulldogs continued to ride the momentum they started to build in the final moments of the first half. They quickly took the lead back two minutes into the half (42-41) after Wagner knocked down a three. Over the next couple of minutes, the lead swung back and forth, with St. Andrews holding a 50-49 lead with 15 minutes left.
This would mark the final time all night St. Andrews would hold the lead, as UC quickly took the lead back (51-50) after a Matthew Thomas (New York, N.Y.) jumper. Eventually, the Bulldogs opened up a five point lead (55-50) that St. Andrews cut down to three points at 60-57 with 10:46 left.
Here, Union began to start pulling away, going on a 12-2 run over the next couple of minutes that was capped by another Wagner three-pointer to open up a 72-59 lead with eight minutes to go. From there, the Bulldogs continued to roll, as the closest St. Andrews came the rest of the night to the Union lead was seven points (82-75).
In the second half, Union outscored St. Andrews 65-40, shooting 67 percent from the floor in the period. The Bulldogs also cracked the century for the fourth time on the season after hitting it with the 102 point effort. The 65 points scored in a half was the second most the Bulldogs scored on the year, as well.
Overall, Wagner and Tarik Smith led the second half surge with their 25-point nights. For Wagner, the 25-point effort was a career-high, while Smith scored over 20 points in a game for the 10th time on the year, and for the third straight game. Smith also dished out five assists in the victory, which tied a season best, and Wagner hit five threes. He also shot 6-of-7 from the free throw line on the night, as well.
Three other Union players scored in double-digits on the night. Josh Smith (Corbin, Ky.) scored 18 points, while Thomas and Hall came off the bench to score 14 points, each.
St. Andrews was led in the loss by Orlando Edwards, who scored 21 points.
The Union men’s basketball team returns to action on Saturday, hosting Tennessee Wesleyan at Robsion Arena in an AAC-tilt. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.