Lions end season with blowout loss

Senior John Fletcher awaits a defender during a conference game against Mississippi College Feb. 11 in Flowers Hall. The Lions ended their season with a 90-59 loss to Delta State in the Gulf South Conference tournament.

It was not a “Super Tuesday” for the UNA men’s basketball team in Flowers Hall March 1.

Delta State jumped to an early 7-0 and would not look back, cruising to a 90-59 victory over the Lions in the first round of the Gulf South Conference tournament. UNA ends the season with a 16-13 overall record.

“It wasn’t our night,” said UNA coach Bobby Champagne. “If we talked about how poorly we played and how poorly we shot, we wouldn’t be giving credit to Delta. They had something to do with us missing shots and us not being effective.”

The Lions went 18-62 shooting from the floor (29 percent), including 4-22 from behind the arc. The Statesmen shot 46 percent from the field, hitting 29-63.

Senior John Fletcher, who played his final game in a Lions uniform, led the team with 12 points on the night. Freshman Dakota Holtzclaw added 11 points and eight rebounds in the losing effort.

“It’s a tough way to end the season,” Champagne said. “The way these guys battled to get to this position, to get where they are right now, and come up short (hurts). Our crowds have been good and have supported us.”

Fletcher and fellow senior Bilal Richardson’s UNA careers came to an end, but eight lettermen return to the team next season. The GSC coaches picked UNA seventh in the preseason poll, which the team exceeded by finishing fourth.

“I think for this year, even though we didn’t know each other, we ended up being third or fourth in the conference,” said junior DeAndre McKinnie. “I think our chemistry will be way better next year.”