UNT suffered one of the more baffling losses I can remember in the last few years tonight.
UNT was down four in the second half at Louisiana-Lafayette, Tony Mitchell sent a shot sailing, was T-ed up and then it all went downhill.
UNT lost 105-74 to the Cajuns, which was a whopping 3-8 in Sun Belt play heading into the game.
There was a whole list of low points UNT hit in the game. We’ll get to that, but first, the interesting tidbit after the game was UNT coach Tony Benford said Mitchell was baited into that T.
“It was a huge play when they called the technical on Tony,” Benford said. “One of their coaches baited Tony into talking. He said something to Tony, he responded and they gave him a technical. That was his fourth foul. You can’t do that. On my bench we are not talking to kids on opposing teams. I never say anything to kids on opposing teams. That’s unfortunate that it happened, but we have to keep our poise.”
UNT didn’t giving up a quick 8-0 run. UNT was still in it before ULL went on another 18-0 run and quickly pulled away.
The loss was UNT’s worst in a conference game since a 94-60 setback against ULL in the 2002-03 season.
UNT has only given up more points than it allowed to the Ragin’ Cajuns just once during its 13 seasons in the Sun Belt, back in its first season in the league in 2000-01, when the Mean Green lost 107-63 to Western Kentucky.
UNT lost to Middle Tennessee 105-71 that same year.
The question now is how and if UNT recovers.
It won’t be easy. A big part of the reason UNT is in this spot in the first place is the run of injuries the Mean Green has experienced this year. Chris Jones is gone and so is Brandon Walton. I really wonder if Jacob Holmen won’t join them after his MRI comes back. Justin Patton is not at full strength.
UNT has to find a way to work through it. That’s going to be tough to do. UNT has struggled all year, even when it had all its players available.
The season is quickly getting away from UNT.
Mitchell is talented enough to help save this team, but he still ends up being a spectator too often. He took four shots tonight. Four.
It’s just a bad situation for UNT any way one slices it.