Second Half Surge Propels Lions to Third Victory of the Season

Second Half Surge Propels Lions to Third Victory of the Season

FLORENCE – The University of North Alabama men's basketball team took a two-point lead into the half against Huntingdon before shooing 60.5 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes to pull away for a 90-58 home win Thursday afternoon at Flowers Hall. Four players reached double figures in scoring as the Lions broke a four-game losing streak to improve to 3-7 on the season.
 
Kendarius Smith scored 10 points in each half to finish with a game-high 20 points. As a team, the Lions hit 11 three-pointers in the game, reaching double digits in the category for the fifth time this season.
 
After scoring the first six points of the game, UNA was unable to grab control in the first half. Huntingdon countered with a 15-5 run to grab a 15-11 advantage midway through the first half and neither team could pull away in the opening 20 minutes of play.
 
With the game tied at 29-29, a pair of free throws by Aleksa Matic with 1:05 remaining gave the Lions a 31-29 lead at the break.
 
A basket by the Hawks in the opening minute of the second half briefly tied the game before UNA grabbed momentum with a 14-2 run.  Smith keyed the spurt with eight points. He grabbed a defensive board and found Christian Agnew on the ensuing break to give the Lions a 45-33 lead and prompt a Huntingdon timeout.
 
Huntingdon was able to get within seven points before the Lions began to pull away. UNA led 57-48 before and 8-0 run stretched the lead to double digits for good. A three-point basket by Kendall Stafford and five straight points by Jamari Blackmon made the score 65-48 at the 8:30 mark.
 
After a tip-in by the Hawks, Matic connected on back-to-back three-pointers to start another 12-0 run. The freshman from Belgrade, Serbia capped the run with a steal and dunk to give the Lions a 77-50 lead with 4:58 remaining.
 
For the game, UNA shot 48.4 percent from the floor, but connected on 23-of-38 shots in the second half. The Lions also forced 21 Huntingdon turnovers, which converted into 25 points.
 
Blackmon finished with 16 points while Matic added 15 points on the day. Tavon King rounded out the top scorers with a season-high 11 points. Despite only seeing action in the second half, Stafford just missed a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds.
 
UNA will now play a six-game road stretch that begins with UNC-Greensboro on Saturday and ends with the ASUN Conference opener on Jan. 5 at North Florida.


    

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