Lions collect big win over conference leader

It was a free throw party for the men’s basketball team as they picked up a win against Gulf South Conference leading University of West Alabama 72-68.

The Lions shot 22-24 from the charity stripe and the Tigers struggled and shot 12-21. The win is the third straight for the Lions, the longest win streak of the season for UNA.

“Free throws was the difference tonight,” said head coach Bobby Champagne. “We’ve given a couple of these types of games away earlier this season but tonight we stepped up. Tonight was good to close it out and finish.”

Senior guard Nathan Spehr made all eight of his free throw attempts in the final minute of the game to keep ahead of the Tigers. UNA led 64-63 under a minute and Spehr found a way to the line over and over to give all the scoring the Lions needed for the victory.

Spehr finished with 20 points and four assists while shooting 10-10 from the free throw line.

“When he goes to the free throw line and misses then there’s something wrong with the rim,” Champagne said.

Spehr came into the contest shooting 91 percent on free throws.

“I’m always confident going to the free throw line,” Spehr said. “I want to get the ball in situations like that.”

Spehr said getting the ball into the post on offense was a key to the win over the Tigers and for the winning streak.

“We we’re really getting the ball inside, and it’s on us guards to give it to them,” he said. “We’re a lot different team now and we have a lot of confidence.”

Senior forward Calvin Dade finished with 17 points and seven rebounds. Junior Brandon Herman scored 11 points for the Lions.

“I think our guys are having fun,” Champagne said. “The difference has been their attitude.”

UNA (9-11, 6-8) hosts the University of West Georgia Jan. 31 at 3 p.m.