Lions Post First Division I Victory with 72-59 Decision At Flowers Hall

Lions Post First Division I Victory with 72-59 Decision At Flowers Hall

FLORENCE – The University of North Alabama men's basketball team overcame a one-point deficit at the half to come away with a 72-59 home victory over Blue Mountain Saturday evening and record its first-ever win as a Division I program. Jamari Blackmon led three UNA players in double figures as the Lions evened their record at 1-1 on the season.
 
The two teams traded scoring runs in the first half. After trailing by five midway through the period, UNA used a 16-2 run to grab a 32-23 lead with 4:56 remaining in the half. Payton Youngblood scored five points during the spurt, including a dunk in transition to give the Lions the nine-point advantage.
 
Blue Mountain, however, responded with a 13-3 run of its own to take the lead at the half. A pair of free throws with four seconds remaining gave the Toppers a 36-35 lead at the break.
 
In the second half, UNA turned up its defensive pressure to take control. After shooting 46.4 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes of play, Blue Mountain went 6-of-27 from the floor in the second half. The Lions also got hot from three-point range, connecting on seven long-range shots down the stretch.
 
North Alabama started the second half on a 14-3 run, thanks to three-point baskets on four consecutive possessions. Kendall Stafford had a pair of treys in the run, including a shot from the top of the key that gave the Lions a 49-39 lead at the 14:32 mark.
 
Blue Mountain briefly got within single digits before the Lions began to pull away. A three-pointer by Kendarius Smtih started another 12-4 run to push the lead to 62-46 with 9:27 remaining. The Toppers could get no closer than 11 points the rest of the way.
 
Blackmon led UNA in scoring for the second straight game. The freshman from Hoover had four three-pointers and finished with a game-high 22 points. Youngblood added 15 points on the night while Stafford finished with 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds for North Alabama.
 
Da'Juonta Ross led Blue Mountain with 18 points.
 
UNA will hit the road next for a pair of games at Division I teams. The Lions will play at Saint Louis on Tuesday and at Pittsburg the following Saturday.

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