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The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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Men’s Basketball celebrates seniors v. Austin Peay

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Treasure Franklin

The University of North Alabama Men’s Basketball Team honored their graduating players before their last home game of the season on Feb. 22. Before their contest against the visiting Austin Peay State University Governors, the Lions celebrated seniors KJ Johnson, Damian Forrest and Eoin Nelson, graduate player Tim Smith Jr, and their families at center court.

Despite out-scoring the visiting Governors from the field during the first half, UNA trailed Austin Peay by 5 at the end of the period. APSU’s lead primarily came from scoring nine more points from beyond the arc and an extra six made free throws. North Alabama went into the halftime break trailing Austin Peay by five points.

UNA failed to overcome the Governors in the second half. Though they improved their three-point percentage, the Lions were still edged out on combined field-goal percentage and free throws. APSU led UNA by as many as 15 points during the half. Despite UNA closing the gap to one point with 6 minutes left, APSU would take advantage of free throws once again to beat North Alabama 87-79, snapping the Lions’ four-game win streak at home.

Austin Peay’s biggest advantage over North Alabama was free throws, shooting 9 more free throws on an extra 10 attempts. UNA showed their biggest strength over the Governors in the paint, where they outscored the Governors by 6 points. UNA’s bench also stepped up to leave their mark on the game with 12 points total, while none of Austin Peay’s reserves found their way on the board.

The Lion’s four graduating players would come together for over half of the Lions’ 79 points, combining for 49 points and an additional 11 rebounds.

The Lions saw the spotlight shine on an underclassman as well as freshman guard Jacari Lane led the team in scoring with 18 points. He also put up a block and four rebounds in addition to the three assists that broke his own single-season assist record. With his new record standing at 109 assists for this season, he overtook the record he set last season and maintained his status as the player with the most assists in a single season during the school’s Division I era.

The Lions left their final regular-season home game to set off on a road trip of three away games against Eastern Kentucky University, Bellarmine University and the University of Central Arkansas. They would lose their first match-up against the EKU Colonels in a close game. Despite never holding the lead, UNA would mount a courageous performance late in the second half to bring the score within one point several times as the game went on, though Eastern Kentucky would leave with the three-point win. Lane made waves in this game as well as he led all players in scoring with a 26 point performance.

After this, they would also drop the second stop of their trip to the Bellarmine Knights. The Lions fared much better in the first half against the Knights, but Bellarmine responded well in the second half to defend both their home court and their chances at participating in the ASUN Conference Tournament. In spite of an admirable performance from their bench, UNA was not able to capitalize off of turnovers as well as the Knights. North Alabama would come up short by 12 points.

In spite of the losses, UNA was still able to clinch an opportunity in the ASUN tournament. The Lions’s final game of the regular season will be in Conway, Ark. against the UCA Bears on Mar. 1. The ASUN Conference Tournament will take place from Mar. 4 through Mar. 10 with times and locations for the games to be determined.

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About the Contributors
Trevor Mickle, A&E Editor
Trevor is a freshman student from Jemison, Alabama, majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in Journalism and Digital Media Production. Trevor is excited to get involved on campus help keep students informed on important topics in our community.
Treasure Franklin, Deputy Chief Photographer
Treasure Franklin is a junior majoring in Psychology with a minor in Applied Behavior Analysis. She is a member of the LaGrange Society, Student Government Association (SGA), and is in the Cole Honors College, as well as the Presidential Mentor's Academy. She is currently serving as a Staff Photographer; she has previously served as the website editor, and she has been a volunteer photographer/writer with The Flor-Ala since August of 2021.

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