Getting his team back down to earth after an emotional win Saturday night against No. 9 Alabama-Huntsville has not been a problem for North Alabama coach Bobby Champagne.
The Lions (12-3, 5-2 GSC) return to action today with a trip to West Georgia and Champagne said his team has been focused in practice.
“The disappointment form the loss to Shorter last week sort of balanced out the excitement of the win at Huntsville,” Champagne said. “That has kept us on an even keel.”
There is no room for a letdown as UNA faces West Georgia (7-8, 4-3). UNA is a half game behind UAH and Shorter in the Gulf South Conference standings.
“West Georgia has played really well at home,” Champagne said. “They’re going to run their five-man motion offense and they create much of their offense by forcing turnovers. We have to do a good job taking care of the basketball and not let them get easy points off turnovers.”
The Wolves are led by senior guard Quincy Hill (13.4 ppg.) and junior forward Sean Boston (11.9 ppg., 7.5 rpg.).
UNA is led by junior guard Rashaun Claiborne (14.3 ppg.). Claiborne broke out of a shooting slump in the second half of Saturday’s win at UAH, leading the Lions with 19 points and 14 rebounds.
“This is another big week for us,” Champagne said. “After this week we’ll be halfway through conference play. If we can get another road win then it would put us in a good spot.”
UNA’s women are also coming off a big road win, beating UAH 81-69 on Saturday. It was the third consecutive conference road win for the Lions (12-5, 5-2), who lost two straight home games in between.
“Our girls just seem to have a good mindset on the road,” coach Terry Fowler said. “For some reason we seem to focus better away from home. I think our youth is an advantage there because the new girls don’t know how tough it usually is to win on the road.”
West Georgia (10-5, 4-3) saw its three-game winning streak end Saturday with a 65-54 loss at Delta State. The Wolves run a Princeton-style offense and are one of the better defensive teams in the GSC.
Junior guard Mone Peoples (14.0) leads the Wolves in scoring and ranks second in the GSC in 3-point shooting.
“West Georgia has their best team since Scott (Groninger) has been there as head coach,” Fowler said.
“They are very athletic and they have a good grasp of the Princeton offense. They start four true guards, so they create a lot of matchup problems for us.”
The 81 points the Lions scored Saturday was a season high and more than 16 points over their average (64.8). Fowler said the Lions need to continue that same type of execution today.
“We need to be sharp offensively,” he said. “West Georgia doesn’t want to get into a running game, so we have to execute our offense and do a good job on the boards.”
Jeff McIntyre can be reached at 256-740-5737 or jeff.mcintyre@TimesDaily.com.