JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (February 9, 2024) – Fresh off an 79-74 road win last night at North Florida, the University of North Alabama men’s basketball team will look to leave Duval County with two wins as the Lions take on Jacksonville University on Saturday.
The game will be streamed on ESPN+ and will tip off at 2 p.m. for fans watching in the Shoals. Fans are also encouraged to tune into WLX Radio on 98.3 or 103.5 FM for the local broadcast featuring “Voice of the Lions” Benjamin Ray. The “Countdown to Tipoff” show begins at 1:40 p.m. Live stats are also available.
The Lions remain the hottest team in the Atlantic Sun Conference with five straight wins, overcoming a 1-4 start to league play to now sit in a tie for third at 6-4. A win tomorrow would give UNA its first six-game win streak since 2021.
Meanwhile, Jacksonville enters with a 3-7 record in conference play. The Dolphins are a much tougher team inside Swisher Gymnasium, owning a 3-1 record at home during ASUN play.
Game: North Alabama at Jacksonville
Date: Saturday, February 10
Time: 2:00 p.m. CT
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Venue: Swisher Gymnasium
Radio: WLX 98.3 / 103.5 FM — “Voice of the Lions” Benjamin Ray
Live Stats: SIDEARM Stats
Tickets: Click here
UNA Game Notes: Click here
Social Media: @UNA_Basketball
LAST TIME OUT: North Alabama won its fifth-straight game on Thursday, taking down North Florida by a 79-74 final in Jacksonville. Despite there being no lead changes, North Florida worked back from a double-digit deficit to tie it up at 74-74 with 46 seconds remaining. Senior KJ Johnson converted an and-one layup for the go-ahead points and later iced the game with two free throws. This marked UNF’s first home loss since December 2, snapping a seven-game home winning streak.
SCOUTING THE LIONS: UNA enters with an even 12-12 record and a 6-4 record in league play, tied with UNF and Lipscomb for third in the ASUN. The Lions average 77.4 points per game this season, but are averaging 81.6 PPG over the last five games. The Lions have five players averaging double figures over the last five games, including Johnson with 18.0 PPG and sophomore guard Jacari Lane at 15.4 PPG. Both guards are above 14.0 PPG for the season.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT: Jacksonville enters with a matching 12-12 overall record, joining UNA as the only two .500 teams in the ASUN. Things have not gone as well for the Dolphins in league play, as they sit in 11th place with a 3-7 record — including an 0-6 league record on the road. Jacksonville does have some momentum heading into Saturday following a 59-55 win over Central Arkansas on Thursday. Robert McCray leads the squad with 17.0 PPG to rank fifth in the ASUN, including 19.8 PPG over his last five.
SERIES HISTORY: UNA leads the all-time series with a 6-2 record, including an 80-62 win last season at CB&S Bank Arena. The last four meetings have taken place in Florence, meaning this year’s trip to Swisher Gym is the first game at Jacksonville since 2020 before COVID. UNA has won three of the last four games.
RIGHT ON AVERAGE: UNA entered the week averaging 78.9 points in ASUN play this season. The Lions essentially met this average in Thursday’s win over North Florida, scoring 79 points in the five-point road victory.
SHOOTING STARS: The Lions are 6-1 when shooting 50 percent or better from the field, including last night’s win where the Lions shot 28-56 for exactly 50 percent. On the flipside, UNA is 1-6 when shooting under 40 percent in games this season.
SOUCIE COOKS: Fourth year guard Will Soucie scored 15 points against FGCU last Saturday before drawing his fourth foul midway through the second half, but followed that performance with a season-high 20 points against North Florida on Thursday. This marks the second career game for Soucie where he scored 20 or more points, as his career-high remains 23 against Central Arkansas in 2022.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: In the first four games of the five-game win streak, UNA experienced a combined 40 lead changes before coming out on top. Against North Florida, the Lions never lost the lead, but did fight off a tie in the final minute.
HELPER, HELPER: Sophomore Jacari Lane enters this week with 100 assists on the season. He needs just eight more to tie his own Division I era record for single-season assists which he set at 108 as a freshman over 33 games. His 100 total this season has come in just 24 games.
CAREER GUYS: Four-year players Will Soucie and Detalian Brown became just the second and third players in UNA Division I history to appear in over 100 games, joining Jamari Blackmon who played in 113 games from 2018-22. Dallas Howell is not far behind the pair at 87 games, tying Aleksa Matic (2019-22) for the fourth-most Division I appearances at UNA.
FOUR OVER A THOUSAND: The Lions have four players on the active roster who have scored 1,000 career points — Johnson, Smith Jr., Forrest and junior transfer Marco Foster. Johnson accomplished the feat last season, while Smith Jr. did so against Jacksonville State this season. Foster and Forrest hit the marks against Rust College and Morehead State, respectively.
ELITE COMPANY: UNA is one of nine known schools in Division I basketball with at least four 1,000 point scorers when factoring in players who scored some of their totals at the JUCO level. The list is led by St. John’s (NY) with six, followed by TCU and Missouri with five. North Alabama is joined by Tennessee, Villanova, St. Bonaventure, Memphis and New Mexico with four.
ON THE HORIZON: The Lions return home next week for its final regular season home games, starting with a visit from Lipscomb on Thursday, Feb. 15 and Austin Peay on Saturday, Feb. 17. The Saturday game will serve as UNA’s senior day, as the Lions will honor Johnson, Forrest, Smith Jr. and Eoin Nelson.