Saturday, February 27, 2016

Union College Advances to AAC Title Game, Burton Earns Win No. 100

Union College 98
Reinhardt 90

Final from Kingsport, Tennessee

Game recap by UC:

KINGSPORT, Tenn. - The second-seeded Union College men's basketball team advanced to the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) Tournament championship game for the third year in a row, defeating No. 3 seed Reinhardt University 98-90 on Friday.

The win was also a milestone for head coach Kevin Burton, as it was his 100th at the helm of the Bulldogs. In his fourth year at Union, Burton has compiled a record of 100-30.

After a 15-win season in his debut season, Burton and the Bulldogs have posted an 85-16 record during the past three seasons. For his career, Burton is 239-105 in 11 seasons at four-year institutions and is 319-148 including his stint in the junior college ranks.

To Burton, his win total is merely a number. While he is appreciative of reaching such a milestone, he credits his players for all the victories.

"This is not just coach talk, but this is really speaks about how well (the players) have done and how well they've worked together to be a part of something that's bigger than themselves and something that was better than just good," he said. "I ask my players all the time: 'Do you want to be good, do you want to be really good or do you want to be a part of something that's going to be special?' And when I get messages and emails from my players all over the world, that's where you go from having a good team to start having a great program. That's why (the 100th win) is special."

The Bulldogs are 27-6 on the year, marking the third season in a row with at least 27 wins. Union went 28-5 in 2013-14 and 30-5 in 2014-15. Prior to this stretch, Union had only one 27-win season to its credit, coming in 1967-68 when the Bulldogs finished 27-6 and advanced to the NAIA National Championship in Kansas City, Mo.

The road to win No. 100 hit a speed bump recently when leading scorer J.D. Tucker (SR/Charleston, S.C.) went down with an injury. But thus far during the AAC Tournament, Sam Natt (JR/Los Angeles, Calif.) has filled the void nicely, averaging 15 points, five rebounds and three assists in two games.

"He's a good player. He's talented. He's had to go through what a lot of players have to go through and get through certain phases of the game and learn from it," Burton said of Natt. "In late November, I started seeing the light bulb flicker a little bit like he's starting to get it a little bit. But when it hasn't been broke, we hadn't needed to fix it, so he had to bide his time. Yet, now with J.D. Tucker's absence now, there is a vacant spot for someone to help us, and he's done a good job the last couple of days, and hopefully, it'll continue."

Complete Recap

No comments:

Blog Archive