ATHENS, Tenn. -- Top-seeded Tennessee Wesleyan went on a late, second half scoring run to get past eighth-seed Union (Ky.), 66-59 in the quarterfinal round of the 2012 Appalachian Athletic Conference men's basketball tournament on Tuesday evening at Robb Gymnasium.
With the loss, UC ends their season with an 8-23 overall mark. Tennessee Wesleyan improved to 22-9 overall with the win, and moves onto the semifinals of the AAC Tournament which will be contested on Thursday.
In the first half, Union stayed within striking distance for most of the period, but rarely lead, as Tennessee Wesleyan extended a lead out to 10 points (26-16) with four minutes and change left in the period.
UC, however, did cut the lead down to five points at 30-25 as the half went under the two minute mark, but TWC scored the final four points of the half to take a 34-25 lead going into the locker room for the half. Ian Davis (Cherry Hill, N.J.) led the way for Union in the first half, scoring 10 points, while Desmond Crisp also scored 10 to lead Tennessee Wesleyan.
In the second half, TWC came out and quickly took back a double-digit lead at 35-25 two minutes into the period. But, UC once again began battling back, and tied the game up at 43-all after racing on a 16-5 run (was down 38-27) with 12 minutes left.
Union eventually came all the way back to take the lead at 45-43 after Carlos Sanford (Durham, N.C.) sunk two free throws with 11:30 left, but TWC answered right back with a three-pointer to take the lead back at 46-45 seconds later. UC, however, took the lead right back shortly after, and had a 51-48 lead with 8:54 remaining after a Ryan Young (Waynesburg, Ky.) lay-in.
TWC quickly tied the game up at 51 on a three, by Union once again took the lead away from TWC and extended it out to four points (55-51) with 6:17 left.
The final five minutes of regulation were frantic, as TWC went on a 7-2 run over a five minute span to take a 58-57 lead with 1:38 left. After a UC turnover on their next trip down the floor, TWC sunk two free throws to take a 60-57 lead with one minute left in regulation.
From there, TWC got a critical offensive rebound off a miss with 35 seconds left, then made a free throw to extend their lead out to 61-57. After another empty possession on the offensive end for UC, TWC made two more free throws to take a insurmountable six point lead with 22 seconds left.
TWC then proceeded to salt the game away at the free throw line, and advanced on in the AAC Tournament with a hard fought seven-point home win over Union.
Overall, Davis was UC's leading scorer, ending the night with 13 points, while Josh Hurd (Independence, Ky.), in his final game at Union, notched a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds on the night. James Strange (Pineville, Ky.) rounded out the UC double-digit scorers, ending the night with 10 points.
Tennessee Wesleyan was led in the win by Crisp, who finished with 20 points to lead the way.