Ryan Fleming dribbled down the left side of the baseline and found Sidy Sall for a layup with 7.6 seconds remaining to give Christian Brothers a 62-61 victory over North Alabama Saturday afternoon in Gulf South Conference men's basketball action. The third straight loss for UNA leaves the team with a 5-9 overall record and 2-6 mark in GSC play.
UNA had a chance to win in the closing seconds. A jumper from the right corner by Jeff Hodge was off the mark and out of bounds off a CBU player with 00.2 seconds remaining. The Lions called time out, but Jere Vucica's tip-in from under the UNA goal would not fall.
The game marked the second straight one-point decision between the two schools at Flowers Hall. Last season, a basket at the buzzer by Bruce Adams gave UNA a 91-90 home victory. The two teams also met in the championship game of the 2014 GSC Tournament with the Lions recording the 79-73 victory in Birmingham.
Saturday's win by CBU broke a three-game losing streak to the Lions. Drew Hildreth hit five three-point baskets and scored 17 points to lead the Buccaneers (8-5 overall, 5-4 GSC).
North Alabama trailed 25-22 at the break and was down by as many as seven in the second half. Trailing 43-36 at the 11:37 mark, the Lions used an 11-2 run to grab their first lead of the half. Vucica capped the run with a fast-break dunk, igniting the Flowers Hall crowd and giving UNA a 47-45 edge with 9:08 remaining.
From there, the game featured two more ties and five more lead changes. UNA trailed 60-58 before a three-pointer by Hodge gave the Lions a one-point lead with 2:17 to play. The two teams then traded scoreless possessions before Sall's basket under the goal put CBU ahead for good.
Hodge finished with a career-high 21 points for the Lions. The redshirt freshman from Birmingham was 8-of-16 from the floor with five three-pointers. Vucica added 14 points for UNA while Calvin Dade grabbed 10 rebounds on the day.
UNA will close out its GSC home stand on Monday against Union. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. at Flowers Hall.