FLORENCE – Mervin James had 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead the University of North Alabama men’s basketball team to a 65-46 win over Kennesaw State Thursday evening at Flowers Hall. The win breaks a five-game losing streak for the Lions and gives the team an 11-16 record, surpassing the win total from a year ago. UNA also moves into fifth place in the ASUN Conference standings with a 6-8 league mark.
Against the Owls, North Alabama used a fast start and never let up. The Lions opened the game on a 15-4 run and only allowed the visitors to come within singles digits once.
James, a freshman from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, scored 11 points during the early surge. He connected on a basket and free throw to complete a three-point play and give UNA the 11-point advantage with 14:37 remaining in the opening half.
After KSU hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 15-6, back-to-back runners in the lane by James Anderson pushed the lead to 13 and the Lions maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
UNA led by as many as 19 in the first half. After Christian Agnew hit 1-of-2 foul shots to give the Lions a 33-14 lead at the 2:24 mark, KSU closed the half with six straight points. North Alabama led 33-20 at the break.
Kennesaw State would get no closer than 13 points over the final 20 minutes of play. After KSU cut the deficit to 36-23 early in the second half, the Lions responded with consecutive three-pointers by Jamari Blackmon and Tavon King.
UNA led by as many as 22 points on four different occasions, including a basket by James to make the score 65-43 lead with 1:50 remaining.
Ugo Obineke led Kennesaw State (1-25 overall, 0-13 ASUN) with 11 points.
UNA will host NJIT on Feb. 27. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. at Flowers Hall.