North Alabama focuses on Union
FLORENCE — A couple of extra days off came at the right time this week for the North Alabama men’s basketball team.
The No. 24 Lions (17-4, 10-3 GSC) were off Thursday night and coach Bobby Champagne hopes his team is healthy as the Lions play Union (5-16, 3-10) this afternoon in Jackson, Tenn.
“The time off has helped because we’ve had some guys banged up,” Champagne said.
“We need everybody healthy because Union has played everybody tough.”
UNA is now a half game behind Alabama-Huntsville in the Gulf South Conference standings. The Lions also need to keep winning because the first regional rankings come out next week.
Champagne admits he does worry about his players overlooking Union. The Lions pounded the Bulldogs 80-63 in the first meeting of the season on Jan. 12 at Flowers Hall.
“That may have been the best game we’ve played all season,” he said. “Union beat Christian Brothers last week, so that shows they are capable of beating anybody at home.”
The UNA women (16-7, 9-4) can move into a tie for first place in the conference today with a victory over Union (15-6, 10-3). The Bulldogs defeated UNA 54-49 earlier this season.
“We’re not putting any pressure on ourselves,” coach Terry Fowler said. “The girls are aware of the situation. Hopefully we learned something from the first game and we can win on the road to get a split.”
Union has lost a couple of players to injuries, including starting forward Shelby Ashcraft. The Bulldogs rely heavily on shooting 3-pointers, making an average of 9.1 treys per game.
“They start four guards, which creates problems for us,” Fowler said. “It’s very tough to match up with them and keep them from hitting 3’s.
“Last time they did a great job sagging on defense and shutting down our inside game. I expect them to do the same thing, but we still have to go inside. We have to make quick decisions and knock down some shots.”
Jeff McIntyre can be reached at
256-740-5737 or jeff.mcintyre@TimesDaily.com. Follow
@TD_JeffMcIntyre on twitter.
UNA at Union
Women 2 p.m.
Men 4 p.m.