Men’s basketball gets win in home opener

Junior forward makes a push to the basket in UNA’s home opener versus Tampa Nov. 12. The Lions took advantage of the Spartans’ 23 turnovers, scoring 24 points off turnovers.

The North Alabama men’s basketball team began the 2016-17 season with a statement win against Tampa Nov. 12 at Flowers Hall.

UNA controlled the game throughout the night with no instances of Tampa matching the Lions score or holding a lead.

The Lions took advantage of 23 Spartan turnovers and scored 24 points off turnovers in the 78-64 victory.

“We played a really good Sunshine State Conference team,” said UNA men’s basketball coach Bobby Champagne. “(Tampa) was a team that had a lot of experience playing together over a couple of years, and I thought we came out and got off to a good start.”

Senior forward Austin Timms led the Lions in scoring with 17 points. Senior guard Dimario Jackson, sophomore guard Tavaris Tolliver and senior guard Deandre Mckinney also had double-digits in scoring with 15, 14 and 11 points, respectively.

Timms also made an impact in the rebound game. He had seven rebounds on the night, which was second only to junior forward/center Sharwyn McGee with nine.

Champagne said it felt great to get a win in the Lions’ home opener.

“It always feels good to get a win,” Champagne said. “We’ve been pretty good at home-openers over the past 14 seasons. It’s nice to play at home.”

The game was the opener for the Gulf South Conference/Sunshine State Conference Challenge which concludes Nov. 13 when the Lions take on Saint Leo.

Go to for further coverage of the GSC/SSC Challenge.