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Lions welcome Tennessee Tech for first meeting since 1951

FLORENCE, Ala. (November 29, 2023) – The University of North Alabama men’s basketball team will battle Tennessee Tech in a regular season game for the first time in over 70 years this Thursday night, welcoming the Golden Eagles for a 7 p.m. tip inside CB&S Bank Arena in Florence. 


Thursday’s game is sponsored by First Bank. There will also be a Teddy Bear Toss to support Bank Independent’s Toy Share Drive. Fans are encouraged to bring a teddy bear or stuffed animal to toss on the court at halftime.  


Also, UNA’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee is accepting canned food donations and other items such as body wash, shampoo, conditioner and feminine hygiene products to help those in need during the holidays. Fans are encouraged to bring those items to the entrance of CB&S Bank Arena. 


Premium Seating at CB&S Bank Arena inside Flowers Hall is sold out for the year, but general admission season tickets and single game tickets are still available. For ticket information, contact bbond@una.edu, call 256-765-5466 or visit online at this link


Parking is available to the general public along the streets of Circular Road and Stewart Avenue, as well as the parking lot in front of Rice and Rivers Hall and the parking garage. Lots A-C at The Bill Jones Athletic Complex and below the arena are reserved parking spaces. There is also paid parking below the Science Building off Circular Road. 



Game: North Alabama vs. Tennessee Tech 

Date: Thursday, November 30 

Time: 7:00 p.m. 

Location: Florence, Ala. 

Venue: CB&S Bank Arena at Flowers Hall 

Capacity: 2,223 

Watch: ESPN+ — "Voice of the Lions" Benjamin Ray (PxP) & Matt Daniels (Analyst) 

Radio: WLX 98.3 / 103.5 FM — Bryan Neece 

Live Stats: StatBroadcast 

UNA Game Notes: Click here 

Tickets: Click here 

Social Media: @UNA_Basketball 




SCOUTING THE LIONS: UNA has a 3-3 record with three home wins and three losses on the road. In six games, the Lions are scoring 76.2 points per game with 75.5 allowed for a near-even 0.7 positive scoring margin. The Lions also rank among the top 50 teams in the nation (out of 362) in both free throw percentage and three-point percentage. 


SCOUTING THE OPPONENT: Tennessee Tech enters with a 2-5 record with wins over Midway and Presbyterian. The Lions and Golden Eagles are both coming off losses to Western Carolina, with Tennessee Tech falling 69-65 at home last night. TTU is scoring 66.9 points per game with 76.0 points allowed per game. The Golden Eagles are among the top-100 teams in ball protection with just 11.0 turnovers per game. 


SERIES HISTORY: UNA and Tennessee Tech had two prior meetings — both during the 1950-51 season. UNA won the first meeting to open that season, while Tennessee Tech won the second meeting. Both were in Cookeville, making Thursday the first meeting between the two in Florence. This marks the first game of a home-and-home between UNA and Tennessee Tech this season with the return trip set for Dec. 16. 


LAST TIME OUT: The last two outings for UNA came on the road against tough competition, including a 105-103 double-overtime loss to UT Martin and a 81-63 loss to undefeated Western Carolina. The Catamounts are one of just 22 remaining undefeated teams in Division I basketball at the time of writing and are now ranked No. 10 in the College Insider Mid-Major Poll. 


LAST TIME AT HOME: UNA pulled off a thrilling 61-59 win over Jacksonville State on Nov. 18 in the last home game, as KJ Johnson sank the go-ahead layup with 1.9 seconds to go. The senior rattled off 14 points in the final 4:31 of the contest, which accounts for all 14 of UNA’s final points. This run of scoring started with UNA down 48-47, as Johnson sank two free throws to take the lead. He finished with 23 points in the rivalry win. 


HOME SWEET HOME: Over the last two seasons, UNA owns a 12-4 record at home inside CB&S Bank Arena. In six seasons under head coach Tony Pujol, the Lions are 24-2 in non-conference home contests. 


MOVING ON UP: Johnson leads all active ASUN players and ranks 78th all-time in the league in career scoring with 1,343 points. He’s scored in double figures all six games this season and is well above his single-season career-high of 13.5 PPG from 2020-21 with 17.0 PPG this season. 


ANOTHER MR. 1K: Graduate transfer Tim Smith Jr. scored his 1,000th career point in the last home game with four points in the second half. He entered this season with 963 career points, most of which came in two seasons at Division II Walsh University. He now has 37 points over four games at UNA. 


BUILDING ON SUCCESS: North Alabama finished with an 18-15 record last season, representing the most single-season wins since the Lions made the jump to NCAA Division I in 2018-19. 


HUNTING ANOTHER POSTSEASON RUN: Last season, UNA played in the 2023 College Basketball Invitational (CBI) to mark the first postseason tournament in the program’s NCAA Division I history. Prior to that, UNA’s last postseason appearance was an NCAA Regional in 2013-14. UNA has participated in 14 NCAA Tournaments (all Division II), including five Final Four appearances and two National Championship wins. 


THE ART OF BALANCE: The Lions have 16 players on the 2023-24 roster, including eight returning lettermen and eight newcomers. Of this group, there are three freshmen, three sophomores, six juniors, three seniors and one graduate student. 


PUJOL CONTINUES PROGRAM GROWTH: Pujol enters his sixth season as the head coach at North Alabama, serving as the first and only coach of UNA’s Division I era. Pujol enters Thursday’s game against Tennessee Tech with 66 wins over six seasons. 


STRENGTH IN STAFF: The UNA men’s basketball coaching staff experienced some restructuring this offseason, including the promotion of Ahmad Smith to Associate Head Coach and Sean Foley to Special Assistant to the Head Coach. Additions to the staff include Austin Burnette as an assistant coach, Landon Travis to handle basketball operations and Eric Wagenlander to direct efforts in player development. Assistant Coach Carter Heston and Director of Sport Performance Leo Stern also return from last year’s staff. 


PRESEASON POLLS: North Alabama was picked seventh of 12 teams in the preseason coaches and media poll for the ASUN. The Lions received one first place vote in the coaches poll. EKU was picked to win in both polls. 


ALL DAYS OF THE WEEK: UNA’s first six games happened on six different days of the week. The only day UNA has not played on is Friday, which will not happen until the regular season finale at Central Arkansas on March 1. UNA has wins on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. 


For more information on North Alabama Athletics, visit www.roarlions.com and follow UNA Athletics on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. 

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