BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Union College forward Deante Johnson (Cincinnati, Ohio) and guard Tarik Smith (Tempe, Ariz.) scored 24 points, apiece, leading the Bulldogs to a 100-78 win over Montreat in Appalachian Athletic Conference action on Saturday evening at Robsion Arena.
With the win, UC improved to 8-7 overall on the year, 2-2 in the AAC, while Montreat fell to 3-9, 0-3 in the AAC with the loss.
To open the game, Union came out struggling, as Montreat opened up a 6-0 lead in the first minute of the contest. But, UC got back on track quickly, tying the game up at 8 with 17:21 left. This was followed up by a Johnson bucket at the 16-minute mark, which gave UC their first lead of the night at 10-8.
Over the next few minutes, the game remained close, but Union continued to hold a lead. WIth 8:47 left, the Bulldogs opened up their biggest lead of the half at nine points (32-23) after Smith knocked down a jumper in the paint.
Despite some runs at the lead by Montreat, the Bulldogs still held it over the next eight minutes, and went into the half up 49-43 over the Cavaliers.
To start the second half, Montreat came out hot to start a period again, and tied the game up at 49-49 after going on a 6-0 run. Despite going back up by four (53-49) after another Smith jumper at the 17-minute mark, Montreat clawed back to tie the game at 53-all, and took their first lead since early in the first half with 15:08 left at 55-53 on another made jumper.
The lead then swung back and forth a few times, eventually leading to Montreat holding a 62-59 lead with 12:47 left. Here, the Bulldogs began their run, knocking down three straight three pointers to suddenly open up a 68-62 lead with 11:40 left.
Following that barrage, the Bulldogs never looked back the rest of the half, on their way to opening up a 10-point lead (79-69) with 6:48 left after another Johnson jumper inside. UC proceeded to roll the rest of the way, extending the lead out to 20 (92-72) with three minutes left.
In the end, the Bulldogs coasted in the game’s final moments, on their way to cracking the century mark, scoring at least 100 points in regulation for the third time on the 2012-13 season, and for the first time in regulation of an AAC game since Nov. 16, 2004 (a 118-92 win over Tennessee Wesleyan).
Overall, Johnson and Smith led the way for UC with their 24 point nights. Johnson also snatched 10 rebounds to record his second straight double-double, while Smith dished out three assists and had three steals.
Other double digit scorers on the night for Union included Josh Smith (Corbin, Ky.), who came off the bench to score 18 points, James Strange (Pineville, Ky.), who had 11 points, and Matthew Thomas (New York, N.Y.), who had 10 points. Strange and Thomas also dished out six assists, apiece, on the night as well.
For Montreat, LaBris Adams led the way in a losing effort, scoring a game-high 34 points.
The Bulldogs return to action on Tuesday, traveling to Virginia Intermont in an AAC tilt. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.