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Capturing its fourth consecutive regular season
title, the No. 8 University of Alabama in Huntsville men's basketball team
defeated North Alabama 70-67 on Saturday afternoon on the road in an
evenly-contested battle. The Chargers improve to 21-4 (14-3 Gulf South
Conference), while UNA slips to 17-7 (10-6 GSC).
The Chargers clinched at least a share of the title with the win and then was able to celebrate the title outright on the bus ride back to Huntsville when Christian Brothers fell at West Alabama. It marks just the second time in GSC history that a team has won a regular season championship four straight years as Delta State won the GSC West Division from 1994-98.
Four players scored in double figures for UAH including senior Jaime Smith who led all scorers in the contest with 21 points including three 3-pointers. The Birmingham, Ala., native has been on quite a run as he has registered 85 points in the team's last three games.
Joining him in double figures were Wayne Dedrick and Ronnie Mack who both scored 16 points on the strength of four triples. As a team, the Chargers hit 12 shots on the night from beyond the arc.
North Alabama – who also had four scorers in double figures – had a strong first half and built up a 12-point advantage at the 2:48 mark of the first half, but UAH closed the period on a tear as Mack hit two of his triples and Dedrick buried one also to move the Chargers to within three at 36-33 at the half.
Scoring two of his team-best 19 points to push the UNA lead out to five just out of the break was Rashaun Claiborne, but Zane Campbell made a layup fall and then Dedrick hit another pair of 3-pointers to put the Chargers on top 41-38 at the 16:28 mark of the second stanza.
Campbell would finish the night 14 and a team-best seven rebounds.
The Chargers would not trail the rest of the way and enjoyed its largest lead of the night at 66-60 with 3:45 left in the game, but the hosts would make the finish exciting as they tightened the score to 66-65.
Smith then hit four free throws in the final minute, and UNA's try at the expiration of the clock was off the mark.
The Chargers finished the game shooting 42.9 percent from the field while limiting the Lions to hit just 33.3 percent of their attempts. The rebounding battle was narrowly controlled by UNA who grabbed 41 rebounds compared to 39 for the Chargers.