Lions playing for survival, title against Union

Lions playing for survival, title against Union

Tue, Mar. 9, 2010 - [Men's Basketball]
HENDERSON, Tenn. - It's a must-win game tonight for the Freed-Hardeman Lions as they face off against Union (Tenn.) University for the TranSouth Conference championship in Jackson.

FHU needs a win to earn an automatic bid to next week's NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City, Mo.  The Lions, ranked No. 28 in the final poll, were knocked off the bubble following unranked teams in both the Chicagoland and Sooner Athletic Conferences receiving automatic bids after winning their conference tournaments.

Win or lose, Union is a lock to make the field of 32 with their No. 10 ranking assuring an at-large bid should FHU take the conference's lone automatic bid tonight.

WHERE: Union's Fred Delay Gymnasium; Jackson, Tenn.; 7:00 PM tip-off

ON THE AIR: WFHU, 91.5 FM.  Pregame begins at 6:45.  Thomas Vick on play-by-play.

SERIES: Union leads 62-28

THIS YEAR'S RESULTS: Union def. FHU, 84-75 (Jan. 16 at FHU); Union def. FHU, 69-60 (Feb. 13 at Union).

* Tonight's game is a rematch of last year's TranSouth Conference championship, which Union won 105-78 after FHU took both regular season meetings between the schools.  This year, Union has won both regular season contests.
* This is FHU's second trip to the conference championship game.  Union is making its ninth appearance in the finals and have a record of 6-2 in the title game.
* The Lions have won five straight games and are averaging 89.8 points per game during the streak.  Union, however, leads the nation in field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 37.4 percent from the floor.  The Bulldogs have allowed more than 75 points just once in their last 20 games.

* Zack Frey passed Tony Lambert into sixth place on FHU's career scoring list.  The senior has 1,855 career points entering tonight's game.
* Juniors Vince Barnes and Brian Pearson have made the most of their increased minutes in the last five games.  Barnes is averaging 9.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game during the stretch while Pearson is scoring 6.2 points per game to go along with 1.6 assists and 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point range.  Barnes posted back-to-back career highs in points with 13 against Martin Methodist (Tenn.) and Mid-Continent (Ky.) in the conference tournament.
* The point guard tandem of Kirtiss Brown and Anthony Sampson has proven to be very adept at getting the ball where it needs to go in the FHU offense.  In the Lions' last five games, the duo has combined for 47 assists and only 17 turnovers.  Sampson also scored a career-high 16 points in the win over Mid-Continent in the semifinals.