Lions win their GSC opener on the road

Nathan Spehr sparked a second-half surge for the University of North Alabama men's basketball team, leading to an 85-80 comeback victory over Union Saturday on the road. The win gives UNA a 7-2 overall record and a 1-0 start to Gulf South Conference play.

The Lions trailed 44-40 at the break before Spehr went 4-for-4 from three-point range over the final 20 minutes of play. The junior from Adelaide, Australia finished with a game-high 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting with five three-pointers.

The game was played without UNA head coach Bobby Champagne, who was in Louisiana on family business. Assistant coach Kyle Morris took over duties on the bench as the Lions returned to the place where they lost 101-99 in overtime last season.

After trailing by as many as seven in the opening 20 minutes of play, Union (4-3 overall, 0-1 GSC) connected on a pair of free throws with six seconds remaining to take a four-point lead into the half.

UNA trailed 51-47 at the 16:11 mark in the second half before using a 20-7 to grab momentum. Five different players contributed in scoring during the run for the Lions, who took a 67-58 lead with 8:41 remaining.

Union would get no closer than four the rest of the way, including three straight free throws to cut the score to 84-80 with nine seconds left. Reshaun Claiborne accounted for the final points of the game by hitting one of two free throws down the stretch. Claiborne finished the game with 14 points. Wes Long added 13 points for the Lions.

UNA will play two more GSC road games before returning to Flowers Hall. The Lions will play at West Georgia on Wednesday and at Shorter on Friday.