BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Union used a late first-half rally to seize control and never looked back as the Bulldogs registered a 78-58 Appalachian Athletic Conference victory over visiting Bryan on Saturday.
With the victory, Union finishes the regular-season 15-13 overall and 8-8 in conference play, while Bryan is 13-15 overall and 9-7 in the AAC.
Up next for Bryan is the AAC Tournament, which begins Wednesday at the MeadowView Conference Resort & Convention Center in Kingsport, Tenn.
The seedings and bracket will be announced on Sunday.
Union led for much of the first half, but found itself down 36-29 following an 8-0 run by Bryan. Robert Troino drained two 3-pointers during the Lion rally as the visitors built the seven-point cushion with 4:58 to go in the half.
The Bulldogs responded with a 14-0 run to closed out the period to seize a 43-36 halftime lead. Union continued to roll as the second half unfolded, opening on a 15-6 surge to build a 58-42 advantage with 13:36 to play. Josh Smith scored six points during the rally.
From that point on, Bryan never threatened as Union's lead grew to as much as 21 points en route to the 78-58 decision.
Deante Johnson recorded his seventh double-double of the season as he led Union with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Smith and Tyler Wagner followed with 13 points apiece, while Archie Adams added 11 points and nine rebounds.
For Bryan, Derrick Walker set the tone with 16 points and nine rebounds with Troino contributing 14 points as he went 4-for-5 from 3-point range.
In the women's game, Union rallied down the stretch to cap the regular-season with a 66-60 Appalachian Athletic Conference victory over Bryan.
The win improves the Lady Bulldogs to 19-9 overall and 12-6 in conference play, locking up the No. 3 seed for next week's league tournament. Bryan falls to 17-11 overall and 11-7 in the AAC and will be the fifth-seeded team.
Union led by as much as 10 points in the first half, but Bryan used a 20-12 spurt to cut the margin to 34-32 at the break. Play was tight to open the second half as the lead changed hands five times was was tied three times during the first 6:29 of the period.
Down 44-43, the Lady Lions reeled off eight straight points to claim a 51-44 cushion with 9:24 to play. Union battled back using 3-pointers from Alyson Roberts and Haley Perkins to help pull the Lady Bulldogs even at 57-57 with 5:28 to play. It was Perkins' second trey of the run which knotted the score for the sixth and final time.
A bucket by Lydia Nash and a 3-pointer from Laura Perkins pushed Union ahead 62-57 with 3:22 remaining. Kelsey Brooks hit a 3-pointer, bringing Bryan within two with 2:57 to play. However, Lindsey Waters and Amber Taylor both hit two free throws in the winding moments to seal the 66-60 Lady Bulldog victory.
Waters led Union with her league-leading, 11th double-double of the season. The senior center scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. She also had six steals, four blocks and four assists. Taylor was the only other Lady Bulldog to score in double figures, finishing with 12 points.
For Bryan, Morgan Burdette led the way with 16 points and 11 rebounds with Macy Kilgore and Jenna Ray each contributing 12 points.
The AAC Tournament begins Wednesday with the championship game set for Saturday. The four-day event will be held at the MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center in Kingsport, Tenn. The official seedings and bracket will be announced Sunday.