Men’s basketball wins conference opener in tough battle

On a night the Lions struggled to score, junior guard Brandon Herman picked up the slack to lead UNA to a 70-68 win over Valdosta State University.

UNA (4-3, 1-0) struggled to shoot as a team and had two key starters battling foul trouble for much of the second half–Jere Vucica and Calvin Dade. The Lions needed someone to step up and Herman did. He stuffed the stat sheet in the process with a 26-point, nine-rebound and five-assist night.

“Brandon Herman and Lazar Petrov really played big for us,” said head coach Bobby Champagne. “Brandon did some good team things tonight. He was getting guys shots, putting pressure on the ball and got to the hole a couple times.”

Herman scored the deciding bucket of the game after stealing the ball from a Blazer rebound after a missed free throw by senior forward Marcus Landry to put the Lions up 70-66 with just over five second left.

“The ball just popped my way,” Herman said. “He brought the ball and I knocked it away and got the easy layup.”

With the Lions trailing 57-50 with 6:51 remaining, Petrov came off the bench for the first time all game and provided a spark for the Lions. He scored on consecutive possessions and grabbed a couple of rebounds to start an 8-0 run by UNA to take its first lead of the second half.

“At some point in time you have to step up and help your team win a ball game and tonight (Petrov) did,” Champagne said.

The Lions host West Florida University Dec. 6 at 3 p.m.