Lions over SAU in both men’s and women’s action


FLORENCE – The University of North Alabama women’s basketball team overcame a poor shooting night to post a 59-48 victory over Southern Arkansas Monday evening at Flowers Hall. The Lions hit 33.9 percent from the floor, including a 22 percent showing in the first half, but forced 20 SAU turnovers to earn their seventh win in the last eight games to improve to 8-4 on the season.

UNA was able to win its third straight game by getting 19 points off turnovers and out-rebounding the Muleriders 45-38 on the night. Niala Harris led all scorers with 18 points on the night. The senior from Chattanooga, Tenn., added eight rebounds and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line.

The Lions trailed 23-22 at the half after hitting just seven shots from the floor. SAU took a 34-31 lead with 13:03 remaining before a three-point basket by Jessi Smith tied the game on the ensuing UNA possession. After a Mulerider turnover, a layup by Nichelle Fillmore put the home team on top 36-34 and the Lions never trailed again.

Fillmore also later added two free throws to cap a 10-0 UNA run to make the score 41-34 with 8:26 remaining. Sanqueeta Meardith also reached double digits in scoring with 11 points on the night while senior Kierra McCleary recorded a career-high 10 assists.

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FLORENCE – The University of North Alabama men’s basketball team used a fast start to grab a big lead and coast to an 81-64 home win over Southern Arkansas Monday evening at Flowers Hall. The Lions used big runs at the end of each half to win for the second straight night and improve to 6-8 on the season.

Ricky Davison scored 27 points to lead UNA to the win less than 24 hours after the Muleriders knocked off No. 4 Alabama-Huntsville 49-46 on the Chargers’ home floor.

After Southern Arkansas took an early 7-3 lead, the Lions used an 18-0 run to go on top 21-7 with 9:33 remaining in the opening half. Davison scored 13 points during the spurt as UNA took advantage of 11 fast-break points.

The Muleriders (8-4) were able to cut the lead to seven over the next four minutes, but the Lions closed the half on another impressive run. This time, it was on the defensive end of the floor as SAU was held without a field goal over the final 5:34 of the first half. A 12-5 run put UNA on top 37-23 at the break.

In the second half, SAU was able to chip away at the lead over the first nine minutes of play. A basket and free throw by Casey Cheshier converted a three-point play and cut the deficit to six at 52-46 with 10:49 remaining.

The Lions, however, were able to capitalize at the free throw line, going 26-of-28 in the second half alone to help pull away. The Muleriders also committed three technical fouls in the final 10 minutes, allowing UNA to get more trips to the foul line.

North Alabama finisled the game with a 40-28 rebounding advantage and 17 second-chance points. The Lions also led 17-4 in fast-break points and 28-22 in bench scoring. Warrick Mastin came off the bench to score 13 points on the night.

UNA will hit the road next to face one of the top teams in NCAA Division I this season. The Lions will play at No. 10 Missouri on Wednesday with tip-off set for 7 p.m. on the MU campus. North Alabama will return home the following Saturday to face Concordia-Selma at 3 p.m. at Flowers Hall.


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