Thoughts on UNT-Lehigh

Now that I’ve had some time to think about it — and to be honest finished designing our special section for Guyer’s appearance in the state finals tomorrow — it’s time to weigh in on UNT’s loss to Lehigh, another low point in a tough season for the Mean Green.

The Tony Mitchell, C.J. McCollum show didn’t unfold like most people, not to mention nearly 60 NBA scouts, hoped it would. McCollum turned an ankle in practice and didn’t play.

That little turn of events was a huge break for UNT.

Not that it mattered. Lehigh ran UNT off the floor anyway by a 90-75 score.

Mitchell didn’t start because of a minor violation of team rules, UNT went 1-for-11 from 3, spent the night chasing Lehigh’s shooters, who buried 11 3s and one of them was a bomb before halftime from well behind the halfcourt line.

Lehigh made as many 3s as UNT attempted.

Yep. It was that bad.

I ran into a former UNT player who said he agrees with me. UNT’s players just don’t look comfortable with what they are doing out there.

After the game, Tony Benford made an interesting comment. He was talking about how UNT struggled to contain Lehigh’s shooters and mentioned that UNT really misses Brandan Walton on the defensive end because he is smaller, quicker guard who can stay with smaller point guards on the perimeter. We already knew that UNT really misses him in terms of being able to shoot the 3.

UNT had played well defensively recently, but clearly regressed against Lehigh.

UNT shot the ball pretty well and scored 75 points. Benford talked about how that is more than enough to win. He’s right. He did look a lot better on the offensive end.

The only down side in that regard was that Chris Jones went scoreless on 0-of-8 shooting, although he did have seven assists.

What made the loss to Lehigh even tougher for UNT is that it came in one of those rare games where the Mean Green was in the spotlight in a key mid-major game. UNT gave away a ton of free tickets to people who saw the Mean Green get hammered. It’s hard to imagine a lot of those people coming back.

And that’s just one of UNT’s issues.

UNT still has a two-game trip coming up to Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee, places the Mean Green struggled to win when it was at the height of its run of success under Johnny Jones.

This team is clearly stuck in a tough spot right now.

At 5-7, it’s going to take something dramatic to turn the season around, especially after UNT lost its Sun Belt opener to Louisiana-Lafayette.

IF UNT falls at WKU and MTSU, which seems like a real possibility, the Mean Green would be sitting at 5-9 and 0-3.

Just being 5-7 is something no one saw coming at the beginning of the year.

The way things are going, it’s hard to see how the tough times are going to end – at least not right away.