There was once a wise man who said, “It ain’t easy being green.”
Ok, it was a fictional frog, but the point still holds following the day in UNT hoops.
The UNT men lost to Charlotte 76-74 on a last second layup from Terrence Williams.
And that wasn’t even the hard part for UNT. The Mean Green women suffered a 58-56 loss to UTSA that had a baffling finish. Laura McCoy hit a 3 with six seconds left to put UNT up one before UTSA rushed the ball up the court, where Miki Turner hit a heave from 25 feet to give the Roadrunners the win.
Both the UNT men and women are now 1-3 in Conference USA play and in a world of hurt in terms of trying to contend in the league.
Alexis Hyder continues to play well for the UNT women and had 20 points and 12 rebounds tonight.
I was at the UNT men’s game.
UNT had that game won. The Mean Green led 70-62 with 5:04 left and let the game get away while scoring just four points the rest of the way.
The dagger came at the end. UNT had the ball with a chance to go for the win and tried to get the ball to TJ Taylor off a double screen. Charlotte cut Taylor off, so he pitched it to Brandan Walton, who got into the lane and had a good look at a runner.
Walton said he should have pulled up and taken the jumper, but it wasn’t a bad look.
UNT coach Tony Benford said he would have preferred to pitch the ball back out to Chris Jones after Taylor was cut off and reset it. I completely understand his point, but the look Walton got was not a bad one.
The problem was Charlotte got the ball back after the miss and got the ball to point guard Pierria Henry, who impressed the heck out of me. He broke UNT down and lofted the ball to Terrence Williams, who kissed it off the glass for the game-winner at the buzzer.
That two-possession exchange will be the focus — it decided the game — but UNT was not good down the stretch. UNT’s only points in the last five minutes came on a pair of Jordan Williams layups. UNT missed four other shots and turned the ball over three times.
UNT turned it over against the press late on a play that was reviewed. It looked like the ball when off Henry, but officials reviewed the video and said the ball went on Jones after it went off Henry. Jones said he didn’t touch it after the game.
The real zinger is that Walton missed only one of his five shots from the field all night, the runner late that turned out to be the much-discussed shot of the night.
Walton led UNT with 13, while Jordan Williams had 12, Colin Voss 11 and Taylor 10.
The UNT men are in a pickle now with games against UAB and Middle Tennessee coming up. Both have 12 wins on the season and will present a pretty big challenge.
Those are games UNT could win, but they are also games the Mean Green could lose. And UNT is getting to the point where each loss puts it a little farther into the basemen.
With that being said, there was a lot to like about the way UNT played tonight. UNT had balanced scoring, shot over 50 percent from the field and continued to play well at times in its zone. Granted, UNT coughed up 76, but sitting there watching the game, one could see signs that the zone continues to be a weapon.
Charlotte coach Alan Major said UNT is one of the fastest teams the 49ers will play this year. He also said that he is impressed with what Benford is building with the Mean Green’s program.