The UNT men danced on in March, thanks to a 63-62 nail-biter of a win over Rice, while the UNT women saw their season end with a 77-59 loss to Louisiana Tech today in the opening round of the Conference USA tournament.
The UNT men will face Tulane at 1 p.m. today in the second round. Tulane had a first-round bye. The Green Wave beat UNT earlier this year, 73-62, and will be rested for today’s game, although I don’t think that will matter much, even though the Mean Green played an overtime game today.
UNT showed a lot of guts to hang in and beat Rice. The Owls had UNT cornered on more than one occasion. Chris Jones bailed UNT out twice, drawing a foul at the end of regulation and hitting two free throws to send the game to overtime. He then drove, drew a foul and hit two free throws to put UNT up for good in the closing seconds of the extra period.
Rice had a great look at a game-winner at the end of overtime that rattled out. That shot from Marcus Jackson looked like it was going down for a minute.
Brandan Walton had his second straight big game with 17 points. He had 20 on senior day. Colin Voss had 16, while Jordan Williams added 11 points and 14 rebounds.
Rice went 14 for 30 from the free-throw line and missed four straight in overtime.
UNT played well down the stretch.
As far as Tulane goes, UNT struggled to contain the Green Wave’s guards. Jonathan Stark and Louis Dabney hit UNT for 20 and 19, respectively, in the teams’ first meeting this year.
I missed most of the UNT women’s game while covering the men, but the story was the Mean Green fell behind 6-0 early and never got on track. UNT didn’t shoot the ball well from the outside. Louisiana Tech was content to pack it in at that point.
It was a tough end to the season for the Mean Green. Mike Petersen was disappointed, but said he thought the Mean Green made progress this season while making the move to a higher-level league in C-USA from the Sun Belt.