BARBOURVILLE, Ky. – Jakobe Wharton poured in a career-high 25 points as the 11th-ranked Union College offense clicked on all cylinders in racing past visiting Bluefield College (Va.) 97-87 in Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) play Tuesday.
The Bulldogs improve to 17-6 overall and 12-4 in the AAC with the win, while the Rams fall to 13-10 overall and 8-8 in league play.
GAME OF RUNS
The first half was filled with spurts by both teams. Bolstered by eight points from Wharton, Union raced out to a 14-4 lead only to see Bluefield pull even at 22-all on a Brandon Shields 3-pointer. Wharton capped a 12-0 Bulldog run with a 3-pointer of his own, making it 34-22 at the 7:46 mark. Yet, the Rams rallied and took a 39-38 lead on a Jermiah Jenkins trey with 4:12 to go.
Lance Blakley countered with a 3-pointer to put Union back on top at 41-39. The Bulldogs closed the period on a 15-5 stretch to take a 53-44 cushion into the break.
BUILDING A CUSHION
Union came out of the second half rolling, eventually claiming a 71-54 advantage following another Wharton 3. The 17-point cushion proved to be the largest for the Bulldogs as the Rams slowly whittled the margin down to eight at 77-69 with 8:16 remaining.
A 13-6 surge pushed Union’s lead to 90-75 by the 4:09 mark. Bluefield got the deficit down to seven on two more occasions, but Union fended off the charge and locked up the 97-87 victory.
BULLDOG OF THE GAME
Wharton went 7-for-11 from the floor and 6-for-10 from long range in netting his 25 points. His previous career high came against Bluefield last season when he netting 18 points on Feb. 7, 2018.
“We looked better tonight than we have in the past two to three weeks in transition offense,” said head coach Kevin Burton. “We were aggressive with how we were hunting down shots, how we were receiving the ball. We weren’t robotic.”
In all, five Bulldogs scored in double figures. After Wharton, DeMarkus Loman set the pace with 21 points with Blakley following with 14. Derek Morgan logged 13 points, and K.J. Duronslet rounding things out with 10.
Union dominated the glass, outrebounding Bluefield 46-31. Loman and Duronslet each hauled in nine rebounds.
Blakley matched his career high in assists with six, joining Jabari Antwine for the team lead on the night.
The Bulldogs shot the ball well from the floor, hitting 55.7 percent (34-of-61) of their shots and 47.6 percent (10-of-21) from long range.
NEXT FOR THE BULLDOGS
Union returns to the road on Saturday as it pays Point University (Ga.) a visit. Game time is set for 6 p.m.