UNT had a chance to break its rapidly growing losing streak tonight, but ended up blowing the opportunity late in a 72-62 loss to Old Dominion.
UNT was up one after Alzee Williams hit a couple of free throws with 3:39 left.
UNT proceeded to turn the ball over three times in just over a minute and Old Dominion went on a 9-0 run.
The Mean Green was well on its way to its fifth straight loss at that point. The skid has dropped UNT (11-13) into a tie for last place in the Conference USA standings at 2-8. Yep, last.
UNT’s problems recently have been on the defensive end. We have written a lot about UNT’s zone over the last few weeks, largely because it had been effective earlier in the year. We are not talking Syracuse good, but pretty good.
Lately, it hasn’t worked nearly as well.
UNT came out of the zone quite a bit today and played better. UNT gave up just 72 points, but struggled to get to shooters. Ambrose Mosley came in averaging about five points a game and bombed the Mean Green for 21. Aaron Bacote, one of the better guards in C-USA, added 20. The pair went a whopping 9-for-12 from 3.
ODU went 11-for-19 from deep overall.
UNT had four players in double figures with Chris Jones and Alzee Williams going for 13, Vertrail Vaughns 12 and Maurice Aniefiok 10.
UNT is quickly seeing its chances to earn a bye in the C-USA tournament fade to close to zip.
I asked Tony Benford about the position UNT is in after the game. I thought his answer was telling
“We are disappointed, embarrassed, whatever you want to call it, but no one is going to feel sorry for us,” Benford said. “The only way for us to get out of the cellar is to get to work tomorrow.”
What will be interesting to see is how UNT responds. UNT has been pointing to opportunity after opportunity to turn the tide this season. Tonight’s game was another one that slipped away.
One has to wonder at this point if UNT is going to be able to keep getting up for the next chance to come along.