HUNTSVILLE – Rashaun Claiborne scored 19 points and pulled down 14 rebounds to lead the University of North Alabama men's basketball team to an 81-71 road win Saturday evening at No. 9 Alabama-Huntsville. The win gives the Lions a 12-3 overall record and 5-2 mark in Gulf South Conference play.
UAH falls to 13-3 overall and 6-2 in conference action after falling to the Lions for the first time in the last seven meetings.
Claiborne, a junior from Darrow, La., did most of his damage in the second half. After going 0-for-3 from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, Claiborne connected on seven shot attempts in the second half, including a three-pointer.
UNA trailed 42-36 at the break following a basket and free throw by Corey Ricks just before time expired. The three-point play capped a 21-10 run over the final 6:26 after UAH led by as many as 17 points.
The Chargers regained a double-digit lead early in the second half, holding a 52-41 lead with 16:13 remaining before North Alabama began the rally. Claiborne led the comeback for UNA, scoring nine points during an 18-8 run. His three-point shot pulled the Lions to within a single point at 60-59 with 9:17 remaining.
After getting a defensive stop on the next possession, UNA took its first lead of the game off an offensive rebound and putback by Jere Vucica.
UAH was able to briefly regain the lead when a three-point basket by Jamie Smith put the home team ahead 69-67 with 5:19 remaining. The Lions, however, answered on their ensuing possession with a three-pointer by Wes Long. The Chargers could only add one basket over the final 3:46 while UNA closed the game on a 14-2 run to secure the win.
Ricks, a freshman from Florence, finished with 11 points to reach double figures for the fifth time this season. Nathan Spehr added 10 points for North Alabama.
UNA will travel to West Georgia Thursday for another key GSC contest. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. (EST) at The Coliseum on the UWG campus in Carrollton, Ga.