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Lions power past Tennessee Tech with lights out second half

FLORENCE, Ala. (November 30, 2023) – On a day that brought adversity, the Lions found a way. 


Just hours before the University of North Alabama was set to host Tennessee Tech for a men’s basketball game on Thursday, a transformer issue inside CB&S Bank Arena caused some technical difficulties with the scoreboard and shot clock above the goals. But with the troubleshooting and hard work of many in the UNA Athletic Department, the show went on. 


The unusual scoreboard set up and an early 7-0 run by the visitors did not deter the Lions on Thursday night, and neither did a 38-32 halftime deficit. Instead, North Alabama rallied back with 54 points in the second half to end the night with an 86-71 win over the Golden Eagles in Florence. 


In a game that was anything but ordinary, the Lions improved to 4-3 on the season and a perfect 4-0 record at home. UNA is now 25-2 in non-conference home games over the last six season and has not lost a non-conference home game since 2020. 


The Golden Eagles fell to 2-6 on the season. 


While the energy was down in certain areas throughout the arena, the energy was high in “The Vault” — UNA’s student section. In fact, the crowd of 1,234 fans were energized most of the night as the Lions recorded a new Division I era school record with eight blocks and matched a season high with 17 assists. The 54 points are also the most for UNA in any half this season. 


The individuals that shined for UNA were aplenty, including the first double-double of the season for senior forward Damian Forrest. Forrest had 14 points and a game-high 14 rebounds to go with three blocks. Tim Smith Jr. also had three blocks, matching a career-high last set in 2019. 


Dual guards Jacari Lane and Detalian Brown stepped up with season-highs in place of leading scorer KJ Johnson, who exited the game early on. Lane finished with 20 points, while Brown was three shy of a career-high in scoring with 19 points. Brown went 5-6 behind the arc and 7-8 from the field, while Lane was 7-8 at the free throw line and drew five fouls without committing one. 





FIRST HALF: The Golden Eagles started on a 7-0 run, as North Alabama scored its first points at the 16:53 mark of the first half. Tennessee Tech was able to hold that lead for nearly 10 minutes, as the Lions slowly inched back into it. The lead eventually shifted for the first time at the 10:16 mark, as Eoin Nelson made a layup and Lane sank a pair of free throws on the next possession to make it 16-15. The lead changed six more times in the half, but TTU would grow back to a six point lead by the break. 


SECOND HALF: UNA played perhaps its best half of the season coming out of the locker room, outscoring the Golden Eagles 54-33 to dominate the rest of the way. The momentum started early with three-pointers from Lane and Brown, tying the game at 40-40 with 17:53 to go. Down 43-41, junior forward Dallas Howell sank a triple to put UNA back in the lead — this time, for good. Howell’s triple sparked a 12-0 run that made it a double-digit lead with 12:57 to go. The Lions shot 17-28 from the floor in the second half for 60.7 percent, while going 7-11 behind the arc for 63.6 percent. On top of that, UNA was 13-16 at the line for 81.3 percent.  


The cherry on top of all of this came with about four minutes to go, as Forrest missed a layup and raced to the other end for his third block of the game. Josiah Fulcher rebounded the block and passed cross court to Brown. Fulcher sprinted to the paint, took the dish from Brown and tomahawked the ball one-handed to finish a highlight-worthy alley oop. 




  • UNA shot over 50 percent for the first time this season, finishing 52.6 percent from the floor on 30-57 shooting. The Lions were also deadly behind the arc with 8-18 for 44.4 percent. 


  • The assist-to-turnover ratio was night and day between the two halves. The Lions had six assists and four turnovers in the first half, then had a remarkable second half with 11 assists and just one turnover. This made for a season-high 17 assists and a season-low six turnovers. 


  • UNA had 44 points off its bench tonight, making up over half its scoring. Tennessee Tech had just six bench points. 


  • UNA posted a 42-28 advantage in the paint. 


  • The Lions converted 22 points off turnovers, while TTU only scored two points with its opportunities limited to just six. 


  • UNA only scored nine points on fast breaks, as most of the assists were totaled in the half court. 


  • The Lions won the boards with a 35-27 advantage. Twelve of Forrest’s rebounds were on the defensive glass. 


  • The game had seven ties and six lead changes. Only one lead change occurred in the second half. 


  • TTU led for exactly 18:30 of game time, while UNA led for 16:57. The Lions led for the final 15:32 after the 12-0 run early in the second half. 


  • TTU’s largest lead was eight near the end of the first quarter. The Lions doubled that in the second half with a 16 point lead at the 3:29 marker. 


  • Seven different UNA players totaled an assist, including Lane with four. 


  • Tonight was the first meeting between UNA and Tennessee Tech in 72 years. UNA now leads the series 2-1, winning the first game between the two in Florence. The previous two happened in Cookeville during the 1950-51 season. 


  • Six — this is the number of free boneless wings that fans can retrieve at the Buffalo Wild Wings location in Florence after every UNA win with the purchase of six wings. Fans are encouraged to show their ticket or the social media graphic to retrieve the offer. 





UNA will have a quick turnaround the next two days as the team flies to Kansas State tomorrow for a game on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. inside Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kan. 


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

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