FLORENCE, Alabama — The North Alabama men’s basketball team rallied from a double-digit deficit in the second half, only to watch Troy score six straight points in the final 1:12 to come away with a 62-57 win over the Lions Thursday evening at Flowers Hall. The first loss of the season leaves UNA with a 2-1 record.
UNA trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half and faced a 38-25 deficit at the break. The Lions, however, slowly chipped away at the lead until a three-point basket by Jamari Blackmon put the home team ahead 57-56 with 1:33 remaining.
Troy scored on the ensuing possession to regain a one-point advantage. The Trojans then got a blocked shot on defense before adding two free throws to stretch the lead to 60-57 with 14.3 seconds to play. A missed trey by the Lions gave the ball back to the visitors and Troy sealed the win with two more foul shots with under two seconds remaining.
North Alabama struggled from three-point range, hitting just 5-of-27 from long distance. For the game, the Lions hit 38.2 percent from the floor and held Troy to a 21-of-57 (36.8 percent) showing.
After UNA took an early 2-0 lead, the Trojans responded with a 13-2 run to take control. Troy led 24-10 midway through the first half before the Lions closed the gap with a 12-2 run of their own.
Payton Youngblood scored seven straight points during the spurt and a three-pointer by Detalian Brown made the score 26-22 at the 6:04 mark. Troy, however, regained a double-digit lead with 10 straight points before taking the 13-point advantage into the half.
UNA scored the first five points of the second half and ultimately held a 32-24 advantage over the final 20 minutes. The Lions faced a 52-43 deficit with 6:03 remaining before making one last push.
After seven straight points by Mervin James made the score 52-50, the two teams traded baskets. Troy added a free throw before a basket by Emanuel Littles cut the deficit to a single point. The Trojans hit 1-of-2 free throws on the ensuing possession before Blackmon connected in the right corner to give UNA its first lead since the game’s opening minute.
A runner by Troy’s Duke Miles quickly gave the lead back to Troy and the Lions would not score again.
Blackmon and James scored 11 points each to lead North Alabama. Troy’s Khalyl Waters led all scoreres with 20 points on the night.
UNA will return to action on Sunday at Indiana. Tip-off is set for 11 a.m. (Central) at Assembly Hall on the IU campus.