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Lions make first trip to Little Apple this Saturday

MANHATTAN, Kan. (December 1, 2023) – Another Power Five opponent awaits the University of North Alabama men’s basketball team this weekend, as the Lions will battle Kansas State inside Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Manhattan, Kan. 


The Lions left for Kansas early Friday morning following a win on Thursday night against Tennessee Tech. UNA enters with a 4-3 record, while the Wildcats are 5-2 this season. 



Game: North Alabama at Kansas State 

Date: Saturday, December 2 

Time: 1:00 p.m. 

Location: Manhattan, Kansas 

Venue: Bramlage Coliseum 

Capacity: 12,528 


Radio: WLX 98.3 / 103.5 FM — “Voice of the Lions” Benjamin Ray 

Live Stats: StatBroadcast 

Game Notes: Click here 

Tickets: Click here 

Social Media: @UNA_Basketball  




LAST TIME OUT: The Lions battled Tennessee Tech on the hardwood for the first time in over 70 years on Thursday — and did not disappoint. Trailing 38-32 at halftime, the Lions exploded for 54 second half points to rout the Golden Eagles by an 86-71 final in Florence. UNA shot 52.6 percent for its first game over 50 percent from the field this season.  


SCOUTING THE LIONS: UNA is currently averaging 77.6 points per game while allowing 74.9 for a positive margin. The Lions have been efficient in their shooting with a respectable 44.1 field goal percentage. From downtown, UNA leads the Atlantic Sun and ranks 35th in the nation with a 38.6 three-point percentage. This includes last night’s game with Tennessee Tech, where the Lions went 8-18 behind the arc for over 44 percent. KJ Johnson leads the team with 14.6 PPG and entered the week as the ASUN’s top free throw shooter with 35 makes (79.5 percent). 


SCOUTING THE OPPONENT: Kansas State enters with a 5-2 record following a run to the Elite Eight in last season’s NCAA Tournament. Like UNA, K-State owns a 4-0 record at home, including wins over ASUN foes Bellarmine and Central Arkansas. The Wildcats are averaging 83.9 PPG with just 74.3 allowed — similar to UNA. K-State ranks fourth in the nation with 16.71 offensive rebounds per game. Senior guard Tylor Perry and junior forwards Cam Carter and Arthur Kaluma are all averaging over 15.0 PPG led by Perry at 17.4. Kaluma also has 8.5 rebounds per game. 


SERIES HISTORY: UNA and K-State have never battled on the hardwood, but did recently meet on the soccer pitch. The Wildcats edged the Lions by a 1-0 final in 2021 with the winning goal scored in the final minute of the match. Saturday marks the third time UNA will face someone who is currently a member of the Big 12, but it will be the first time against a team representing the Big 12 at the time of play. The other two are Texas Tech in 1989-90 (Southwest Conference) and UCF in 2021-22 (American). 


WELCOME TO KANSAS: UNA will make its first trip to the Sunflower State since the move to Division I in 2018. Kansas will become the 21st unique state UNA will play in over the last six seasons. In January, the Lions will travel to Texas for the first time to mark the 22nd state visit. 


HOME, SWEET HOME: UNA has a perfect 4-0 record inside CB&S Bank Arena this season. Furthermore, the Lions are 25-2 in non-conference home games under head coach Tony Pujol the last six seasons. This includes a 14-game home win streak over non-conference teams dating back to 2020.  


ROAD CHALLENGES: UNA is seeking its first road win on Saturday after challenging losses to No. 21 Mississippi State, UT-Martin in double overtime and Western Carolina, who is now ranked No. 10 in the College Insider Mid-Major Top 25. Last season, UNA tallied eight road wins, including a 66-65 win over Ole Miss for the first Power Five and SEC win in school history.  


BENCH CONTRIBUTIONS: The Lions outscored Tennessee Tech 44-6 off the bench on Thursday. Leading the charge was experience veteran Detalian Brown with 19 points on 7-8 shooting from the floor and 5-6 shooting from downtown. Brown is second on the Lions roster with 90 career games played, following starting guard Will Soucie with 91. 


DOUBLE VISION: For the first time this season, senior forward Damian Forrest tallied a double-double with 14 points and a game-high 14 rebounds against Tennessee Tech. Forrest had three double-doubles last season and has come close multiple times this season. 


TALE OF TWO HALVES: In the TTU game, UNA was outscored in the first half with six assists and four turnovers. The second half was a different story, as UNA outscored TTU 54-33 and tallied 11 assists to just one turnover. 


ROAD TO 100: At UT Martin, UNA scored over 100 points on the road for the first time in the Division I era. Prior to that, the last time UNA scored 100 points in a road game was a 100-63 win at Montevallo in 2017. In six seasons under Coach Tony Pujol, the Lions have scored 100 or more points six times — five at home and one on the road. 


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. 


VETERAN LEADERSHIP: Experience is key for potential Atlantic Sun Conference contenders, and UNA brings that to the table this season with four returning starters. UNA returns 70 percent of its scoring to the starting lineup from last season to this season. 


PUJOL CONTINUES PROGRAM GROWTH: UNA head coach Tony Pujol enters his sixth season at the helm, serving as the first and only coach of UNA’s Division I era. Pujol enters Sunday’s bout with 67 wins over six seasons and led UNA to an 18-15 overall record in its first season out of the four-year Division I transition period. 


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. 


BALLING ALMOST EVERY DAY: UNA’s first six games took place on six different days of the week. The only day UNA has not played on this season is Friday. The only Friday game on the schedule is 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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