Basketball team prepares for senior night

The UNA men’s basketball team will face No. 10 Christian Brothers this Thursday and try to avenge an early-season loss.

UNA (14-9,6-5) is coming off a long road trip where they split with a win last Saturday to end a losing streak at Valdosta State 70-58. With the loss to West Florida last Thursday, the Lions are in the middle of a mess with just three games to go and two road games where the Lions haven’t been as strong with a 4-5 record on the road in the GSC.

“It’s a little bit of a jumble, but that’s going to be the case when you have a bunch of good teams,” said UNA coach Bobby Champagne. “Christian Brothers is a big game with it being our last home game, senior night, and we will be facing our sixth rank team on the year.”

During the first matchup, the Lions could never find a rhythm offensively on the road against the Christian Brothers. The Lions shot a season-low 29 percent from the field and 1-9 from beyond the arc.

Christian Brothers forward Zack Warner created a lot of problems not only for UNA but the rest of the conference, with 27 points and 12 rebounds against the Lions. Stopping him is one of the goals for the Lions Thursday.

“I don’t know if anybody has an answer for Warner,” Champagne said. “Warner and Scott Dennis are two of the better players in the league, so they are difficult to guard and are smart players.”

The duo of Beaumont Beasley and Theron Jenkins for the Lions will also be a key part in the game. During the last meeting, the Buccaneers held the two for 20 points total.

The one key that has changed from the first meeting is that the Lions offense has come out of the slump of the first couple of games of the GSC to prime position and fourth in the GSC in scoring offense (74 ppg).

“In the first game, we struggled as a team and had poor shot selection,” Champagne said. “We didn’t play the way we have been playing throughout the season in that game.

“We had a poor shooting percentage, but a lot of that was by the Christian Brothers’ defense. Any time I want to put myself asleep and have nightmares, I throw in a film of the Christian Brothers.”

UNA is set to tip off at 8 p.m. in Flowers Hall for the last home game of the season with three games left on the schedule, and two of the three are against the top two in the conference, with the other being UA-Huntsville.

“We’ve got five good seniors, and their senior leadership has been good over the past couple of years,” Champagne said. “There is always a little emotion involved because it is the last time these guys will play at home, and it signals the near end of their college careers.”