Hoops thoughts (UNT swept again)

North Texas guard Jordan Williams (23) dribbles near the 3-point arc as Tulane guard Jay Hook defends Saturday at the Super Pit. (Denton Record-Chronicle)

The first weekend of Conference USA play is in the books and UNT is still looking for its first win.

The UNT men fell at home to Tulane 73-62, while the UNT women saw their comeback attempt come up just short at Charlotte in a 61-59 loss.

Both of UNT’s teams are 0-2 in league play.

The UNT men are in a worse spot. The Mean Green played its first two games at home, including their showdown with Tulane, a game that looked like UNT might have a shot at.

Tulsa waxed Tulane 97-71 earlier in the week.

The baffling aspect of the game was that UNT had three starters who didn’t score — THREE. Alzee Williams (UNT’s leading scorer at 13.9 points a game), Maurice Aniefiok and Keith Coleman (the least surprising) combined to go 0-for-14 from the field.

T.J. Taylor came off the bench to score 19 and UNT’s fifth starter Jordan Williams scored 14 points.

Jordan Williams hit a 3 at the buzzer at the end of the first half to cap a 13-3 run and tie the game at 27-27. It was all downhill from there for UNT, which gave up a 9-0 run to start the second half.

UNT had won four straight heading into the weekend and beat Texas A&M not that long ago.

“People who watched us today and watched us against Texas A&M would say it’s a different team,” UNT head coach Tony Benford said. “We have to figure that out as a coaching staff. I told each player they have to look in the mirror. We have to figure it out.”

Benford said UNT has to continue to focus on defense and getting the ball into the paint. Colin Voss did a good job down low, hitting four of his six shots on his way to nine points. Coleman is struggling to score and missed both his shots and both his free throws. Kelvin Gaines just does not look healthy to me. Benford said doctors have told the staff that it takes big guys longer to come back from foot injuries. He is having a tough time moving and played just two minutes.

UNT did shoot the ball better from the line, hitting 17 of 25 after going 12-for-22 against Southern Miss. I was asked on Twitter whether or not UNT practices free throws. Since practice is closed, I said I didn’t know, but that I am sure UNT does. Without prompting, Benford said that UNT does in fact practice free throws. So there ya go.

The Mean Green is really in a bad spot now with games on the road at Marshall and Charlotte coming up this week.

The UNT women came back from 16 down against Charlotte and had a chance to extend the game at the buzzer, but Candice Adams’ runner rolled out. Briesha Wynn had 16 points and 13 rebounds. She jacked up 20 shots to get there. Janis Peterson had 12 and Adams 11.

While UNT couldn’t pull it out, the Mean Green showed some fight after being murdered at Middle Tennessee again earlier in the week, this time 86-42.

The Mean Green women are in a better spot than the men’s team. UNT is coming home to face Marshall (7-7) and UTSA (9-5) next week.

Hopefully next week will go better for UNT, which is still looking for that first C-USA win.

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