Late-night hoops thoughts

North Texas guard Chris Jones tries to drive past Middle Tennessee guard Neiko Hunter on Saturday at the Super Pit. MTSU rallied for a 70-63 win. (Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton)

It was a bit of a rough day for UNT on the hoops front.

To review:

The UNT men had a 13-point lead in the first half of their game against Middle Tennessee, but gave up a monster 21-3 run that spanned the half and lost 70-63.

The UNT women had a chance to sweep the Florida swing in Conference USA to Florida International and Florida Atlantic, but fell to the Owls 82-69 after coughing up an 14-0 run in the second half.

The UNT men are now in a world of hurt at 2-4 in Conference USA play, which is exactly the same spot the UNT women are in.

The baffling aspect of the way the UNT men fell was the way they just flat quit scoring. UNT was up 32-21 with 1:39 left in the first half after Jordan Williams hit a 3.

MTSU scored the last seven points of the first half, including a 3 at the buzzer from Kerry Hammonds. The Blue Raiders kept pouring it on in the second half and eventually went up 13 before UNT made a late run came up short.

UNT shot just 35.7 percent in the second half after shooting 52.2 percent in the first half. Jordan Williams had 16 points, Vertrail Vaughns 11 and Maurice Aniefiok 10 for UNT.

T.J. Taylor had a tough night, finishing with four points on 2-of-10 shooting. UNT just didn’t have enough offensive juice to counter MTSU when the Blue Raiders got hot. And the Blue Raiders really hot while shooting 59.1 percent from the field in the second half.

UNT coach Tony Benford said UNT didn’t get enough stops. When a team isn’t getting stops and isn’t scoring, that is usually a bad combination.

FAU also got hot in the women’s game, hitting 12 3s in the first half. UNT rallied, but that long drought did the Mean Green in.

To be quite honest, the UNT men picked a terrible time to squander a chance for a key win. There were more than 4,400 people on hand, largely because UNT honored the football team and brought the Heart of Dallas Bowl trophy for people to get their pictures with. UNT had a chance to win over a lot of fans, not to mention students who are back for the second semester and squandered the opportunity.

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