FLORENCE, Ala. – After trailing by three at the half, the University of North Alabama men's basketball team rallied for a 61-56 home win over Florida Gulf Coast Tuesday evening at Flowers Hall. The win represented the first-ever ASUN victory for the Lions. It was also the first win over a Division I team this season.
Tavon King scored 15 points to lead the Lions. The sophomore from Gates, Tenn., connected on the go-ahead three-point basket with 1:34 remaining. He finished the game 3-for-5 from long range. Cantavio Dutreil added the first double-double of the season for UNA with 11 points and 12 rebounds. The freshman from Gonaives, Haiti also had four blocked shots on the night as the Lions improved to 4-13 on the year and evened the team's ASUN record at 1-1.
North Alabama trailed 25-22 at the break, and faced a 29-24 deficit early in the second half. Kendarius Smith started a 12-2 run for the Lions with a three-pointer from the right wing. After two free throws by the Eagles, UNA got baskets by Dutreil and Smith to tie the game at 31-31.
Following a defensive stop, the Lions took their first lead of the second half on a trey from King in the left corner. Dutreil capped the run, taking a pass from Jamari Blackmon and getting a dunk to give UNA a 36-31 lead with 13:24 remaining.
The Lions led by as many as seven in the second half, but could not put FGCU away. After falling behind 51-44 at the 4:12 mark, the Eagles used a 10-2 run of their own to grab a one-point lead. A pair of free throws gave the visitors a 54-53 advantage with 1:58 remaining.
The lead did not last long. King drained his third trey of the game on the next possession and the Lions forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds pass. UNA went 5-of-6 from the free throw line over the final 1:27 seal the win.
A pair of foul shots by Blackmon with 12.4 seconds to play iced the game. The freshman from Hoover finished with a game-high six assists and eight points, failing to reach double figures for only the second time this season. Smith also turned in 13 points for North Alabama.
Florida Gulf Coast (5-12 overall, 0-2 ASUN) was led by Decardo Day's game-high 20 points.
UNA will host NJIT on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 3:30 at Flowers Hall.