It's lonely at the top, but that's how UNA Men's Basketball likes it.
The 82-81 overtime win Friday night in Flowers Hall was enough for UNA to take over sole possession of first place in the conference. The second straight overtime win at Flowers Hall gives the Lions an 8-3 overall record with a 4-1 mark in ASUN play.
North Alabama and Jacksonville entered the match-up tied atop the standings with identical 3-1 conference records. The Lions led by as many as 13 points in the first half and held a 52-41 lead with 14:31 remaining. Jacksonville, however, outscored UNA 34-23 down the stretch to tie the game at 75-75 to send the contest into overtime.
Jacksonville led by as many as three in the extra period. The Dolphins led 81-78 before a turnaround jumper by Jamari Blackmon cut the lead to a single point with 2:07 to play. Each team missed a pair of free throws in the closing minutes.
With UNA trailing 81-80, Isaac Chatman grabbed an offensive rebound. His putback was off the mark, but Littles cleaned up the miss with a tip-in to give the Lions the lead for good.
Chatman led four players in double figures with a career-high of 19 points. Blackmon and James added 16 points each while Payton Youngblood rounded out the top scorers for the Lions with 13 points. James also pulled down a game-high of 14 rebounds while Littles reached double digits in the category for the fifth time this season with 10 boards.
Both teams battled foul trouble throughout the evening. Youngblood and James both fouled out, along with two Jacksonville players. The Lions, however, were able to take advantage at the free throw line, going 23-of-34 on the night while JU hit 15-of-28 attempts from the charity stripe.
These two square off again Saturday. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. at Flowers Hall.