After two consecutive wins earlier in the week, the Spartans were back in action Thursday night as they hosted the Pender Patriots. Let’s just say that the only thing “patriotic” about this game was the “Star Spangled Banner” being played prior to the tip. Union defeated Pender 50-35 for their third consecutive victory, and moved to 2-0 verses conference competition.
The game was close early, as the Patriots and Spartans exchanged baskets for much of the first half. Union trailed 12-10 after the opening period, but took a 20-18 lead into halftime.
The third quarter was huge for the Spartans. Desmond Faison collected 4 offensive rebounds in the third quarter alone, and scored 8 points in the period. Union held Pender to just 5 third quarter points, and outscored the Patriots by 14 in the period. This gave them a 39-23 heading into the final quarter.
Natrone Banks’ penetration and aggressiveness in the final period prevented the Patriots from drawing closer to the lead than 15. Soon enough, Coach Tim Pope and the Spartans had their fourth win of the season.
“Desmond was big for us tonight in the third. It was a big quarter for us, and any time you hold a team to 35 points you have a good chance to win” said Pope.
Faison led the Spartans with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Banks also scored in double figures. He had 11 points and 6 assists. Justin Smith added 7 points, and Brandon Lovette had 5 points.
The win improved the Spartans’ record to 4-4 and 2-0 in conference play. They are back in action next Friday night for the Nathan Gay Holiday Invitational.