FLORENCE — North Alabama went back to doing the things that it did early in the year in an effort to break a three-game losing skid Thursday night.
The Lions pounded the ball inside and the strategy paid off in an 81-69 victory over West Georgia in the final home game of the season.
Bruce Adams scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to help the Lions (18-7, 11-6 GSC) earn a season sweep over the Wolves (8-17, 5-12).
“We had gotten away from doing the things that had made us successful early this season,” Adams said. “Getting it inside is our offense. When we get the ball inside to DeAndre (Hersey) everything falls into place.”
UNA shot just 15 times from beyond the arc, making six. The Lions shot 50 percent from the field and made 27 of 35 free throws.
“Our game plan has never changed, although we stray away from it sometimes,” coach Bobby Champagne said. “We showed good patience tonight and got the ball in the paint to Bruce and DeAndre. We were aggressive and it got us to the line a lot.”
UNA did not trail in the second half. The Lions closed the first half with an 8-0 run and took a 38-30 lead into halftime after a 3-pointer by Nathan Spehr.
West Georgia pulled within a point early in the second half at 42-41. Spehr hit another trey to give the Lions some breathing room and Adams later capped a 6-0 run with a three-point play that made it 55-45.
“Bruce played really well tonight,” Champagne said. “He was in a little bit of a slump and it was good to see him snap out of it.”
The two teams traded baskets, or in most cases free throws over the final 10 minutes. West Georgia pulled within six at 66-60, but Adams scored the next nine points for UNA, including a 3-pointer and a layup off a lob pass that extended the lead to 75-65. The Wolves would not threaten again.
“Losing three games in a row is not us,” Adams said. “Coach told us not to get down and we didn’t. We got our momentum back tonight and we want this win to carry over into the conference tournament and the regional.”
With the win, UNA assured itself of the No. 3 seed for next week’s GSC Tournament.
The Lions will play next Friday night in Birmingham.
“I’m happy for our seniors,” Champagne said. “It’s good to send them out with a win and it’s good to get to 18 wins.”
Hersey added 16 points for UNA, followed by Spehr with 13 and Rashaun Claiborne with 11. Taylor Cochran led West Georgia with 21 points.
UNA will close out the regular season Saturday at West Alabama.
“Now we’ve got very little time to prepare for a tough game at West Alabama,” Champagne said. “But this win will certainly put us in a much better frame of mind.”
Jeff McIntyre can be reached at 256-740-5737 or jeff.mcintyre@TimesDaily.com.
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