Sun Belt tourney day 1 running blog

17:04 — ULL has opened the second half on a 6-1 run and is up 39-30. This is quickly getting away from UNT. ULL has the ball.

Halftime — UNT is down 33-29 at halftime after being down seven in the early going.

3:32 — UNT is down 26-23 at the final media timeout of the first half here in Hot Springs. Bart Lundy is working the grease board in the timeout huddle.

11:33 — UNT is down 10-6 at the second media timeout of the first half here in Hot Springs. Alzee Williams is not playing, which is not going to help matters.

14:12 men’s game — We are all tied up at 6-6 aty the first media timeout of the men’s game. Roger Franklin has four points for UNT.

:10 — ULL is up 78-72 and has the ball.

:18 — UNT is down 76-70. This is over. Tough end to the season for UNT.

:31 — UNT is down 75-70 and just committed a foul to stop the clock.

:51 — UNT is down 73-70 and in a world of trouble. UNT fouled a ULL shooter throwing up a desperation shot at the end of the shot clock. It was a terrible foul. ULL is headed to the line.

1:38 — ULL just hit a monster 3 and is up 73-70 late in the second overtime. UNT has limited options with Hyder and Dawkins already fouled out. UNT does not need a 3 here. McCoy and Goodwin would be good bets. UNT could also go inside to Stanley.

End of first OT — UNT had a look at the basket, but Laura McCoy’s runner came up short. We are headed to a second overtime.

33.8 — We are all tied up at 66-66 after ULL got a steal and a layup. UNT has the ball

End of regulation — We are headed to overtime. UNT got the block at the end.

19.7 — UNT turned it over on its last possession. ULL has the ball with a chance to win it. The shot clock is off. I would imagine ULL will try to get something going to the rim here.

1:37 — UNT is up 58-57 on an Alexis Hyder layup. ULL is headed to the line for a couple of free throws. UNT has gone to Hyder late. She has 19. Laura McCoy has 13. UNT has a huge 44-34 edge in rebounds.

2:46 — Laura McCoy just hit a huge 3 for UNT. The Mean Green was down two when McCoy hit it to put UNT back up 56-55.

7:27 — UNT is still up 48-46 at the third media timeout of the second half. ULL is headed to the line to try to tie the game up. Alexis Hyder has 17 points for UNT. Loryn Goodwin has 10.

7:28 — UNT is up 48-46. Alexis Hyder scored inside to put UNT back up.

11:43 — UNT is up 42-40 heading into the third media timeout of the second half. UNT was up five, but ULL just pumped in its eighth 3 of the game to get back within two. UNT was just called for an offensive foul. ULL will have the ball coming out of the timeout. Alexis Hyder has 15 and Loryn Goodwin 10 for UNT.

14:16 — UNT is up 39-37 after Sylvana Okde pumped in another 3, her fifth of the game for ULL. UNT called a timeout after looking a little out of sorts offensively.

15:49 — UNT is up 38-34. I have a hard time seeing how ULL is going to come back and win this game after blowing a huge lead. UNT has some confidence going now. Alexis Hyder has 12 points for UNT. ULL hasn’t gotten a good look at a 3 since the early going.

Halftime — UNT has come all the way back from down 16 to take a 34-32 lead at halftime. UNT went on a 23-3 that started late in the first half after ULL took a 27-11 lead. UNT tied the game up at 29-29 on a Desiree Nelson four-point play and took its first lead since the early going at 31-30 on an Alexis Hyder layup. Laura McCoy hit a bomb of a 3 from NBA range to put UNT up 34-30. ULL scored late to get within two.

3:42 — UNT has started to get it together and has pulled to within 29-21. UNT went on a 9-0 that Loryn Goodwin sparked with a 3. Goodwin has seven for UNT. UNT has tried to pressure the ball on the perimeter since ULL started hitting 3s from everywhere and has seen that move pay off. ULL has not hit a 3 since going up 22-7.

7:14 — UNT is down 27-11 past the midway point of the first half. UNT has the ball coming out of a 30-second timeout.

7:47 — UNT is down 25-11 with ULL headed to the line for a pair of free throws. UNT has made just two shots from the floor all day and one was to open the game. UNT is 2-for-14 from the floor. UNT’s fans are sitting on the side of the floor opposite me and look stunned.

9:32 — BreAnna Dawkins just picked up her third foul at the 9:32 mark. UNT is down 23-7. This is not going well for UNT.

11:43 — UNT is down 19-6 at the second media timeout of the first half. ULL has hit five 3s and had another one go halfway down and pop out. UNT has just two Laura McCoy free throws since going up 4-0. UNT is 1-for-7 from the floor. ULL has 15 shots already. UNT has eight turnovers.

14:20 — Sylvia Okde is on fire from 3 and just hit another for ULL. She has nine and ULL has a 13-6 lead.

15:45 — UNT is down 8-4 at the first media timeout. Laura McCoy is headed to the line for a pair of free throws coming out of the timeout. ULL is on an 8-0 run. Sylvia Okde has hit a couple of deep 3s to give ULL the early lead. Five of ULL’s eight shots have come from 3. That’s good for UNT.

Update 8:08 to tip – WKU has rolled in and is sitting in the stands behind UNT’s end of the floor. It’s Topper Time for the team that wins this game. WKU is the No. 3 seed and gets the winner of this game.

UNT is about to make begin its final run in the Sun Belt Conference tournament. Yep, it’s Hot Hoops in Hot Springs and I am here to do a little blogging along the way.

The UNT men and women will both play Louisiana-Lafayette in the first round. The UNT women drilled ULL twice and should roll in the first game. ULL has won nine games all season and finished in a tie for last place in the overall conference standings. ULL is the No. 11 seed in an 11-team tournament.

UNT has a huge advantage inside with Alexis Hyder and Sara Stanley, who is in her last go-around with the Mean Green. Loryn Goodwin has played well all year and was the Sun Belt Freshman of the Year. Goodwin and Hyder were third team all-conference picks.

UNT has won at least one conference tournament game in four of the last five seasons. UNT should roll.

The men’s game is the one that could be really interesting. UNT lost to ULL twice in the regular season, including being drilled by 31. Tony Mitchell only scored 10 points in those two games combined.

Will Mitchell go off in what could be one of his last few games before going out the door? Mitchell has said he will sit down with his coaches and family and decide what to do after the season.

It’s hard to imagine that he won’t declare with the way the draft shapes up. He hasn’t had a great season, but it looks like he will be a first-round pick and his stock would be sure to soar in pre-draft workouts due to his skill set.

The hope from UNT’s perspective is that the return of Chris Jones will change this team. That’s not out of the realm of possibility. Jones is that good. He gives UNT another perimeter scorer and defender, and he can get the ball to Mitchell in good spots.

UNT will also need Jones to at least contain Elfrid Payton, who torched the Mean Green in two games so far this season. Payton had 14 points and nine assists in the first game and 24 points and nine assists in the second meeting.

Jones has played two games since returning from a broken foot.

In a side note, I have run into a few UNT fans, but the turnout in Hot Springs is down significantly from the last few years.

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