UWA men finish 10-0 in home conference games

Published 9:05 am Monday, March 3, 2014

Jarell Byrd hit the game winning layup with 38 seconds left in overtime to lead West Alabama to an 83-79 victory over Union in Gulf South Conference action on Saturday in Pruitt Hall.

The game wraps up the Tigers regular season where they finished 10-0 in home conference games. UWA finished season 17-9 overall, 14-6 in the GSC as well as a No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. Union dropped its fifth straight game to finish the season 11-15 and 7-13.

“We are proud to win out at home and send the seniors out on a good note,” said UWA head coach Mark Downey.

Email newsletter signup

“Our goal was to win out at home and steal at least five on the road to give us a good shot at winning the league. Delta State just did a better job than us at winning on the road, but hopefully that NCAA tournament berth is right there.

“Union is a really well coached team and are hard to guard. We had some guys step up tonight. There were a lot of different things that went wrong for us today, but we still managed to battle through them and find a way to win.”

Both teams traded leads 13 times in the first half with Union jumping to a 43-35 lead at the break. The Tigers battled back in the second half with Desmond Raymond sinking a layup with 26 seconds left in regulation to tie the game 71-71.

West Alabama led 42-4 in bench points, led by Lleon Tillman with 23. Tillman scored six of the Tigers 12 overtime points. Jarell Byrd also came off the bench to score 14.

Desmond Raymond tallied 22 points; his tenth 20-plus point performance of the season. Sandy Underwood led in rebounds with eight while also adding eight points to the Tigers total.

Four Bulldogs totaled double-digits scoring marks. AJ Roberts led Union with 27 points, followed Corieon Pearson with 21. Ashanti Day scored 12 and Roy Bullock posted 11.

UWA turned Union’s 11 turnovers into 17 points while giving up only four points on five turnovers.

West Alabama now sets its sights on the GSC tournament in Birmingham, Ala. The Tigers will take on the No. 7 team in the conference in the first round of the tournament on Thursday. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. in the Pete Hanna Center on the campus of Samford University.

“We still have a five game season left,” said Downey. “If we can play well in this five game season, hopefully we will get another season after that. Now we have a chance to go play for a championship. Everyone is 0-0 and playing on a neutral floor, and we’ve played very well on neutral courts this season.”