Final: Marshall 106, North Texas 104
Where UNT stands: UNT finished 8-22 overall and 2-16 in Conference USA play after dropping its last game of the season.
Now what?: UNT failed to make the C-USA tournament and is done for the year. The Mean Green actually finished alone in last place in the league standings after Florida International upset UAB in its final game
Star of the day: J-Mychal Reese had a terrific final game of his college career in UNT’s loss to Marshall. The senior finished with 25 points six rebounds and three assists. Reese went 9-of-14 from the field and went 3-for-5 from 3-point range. A.J. Lawson also enjoyed a great offensive game on his way to scoring 26 points. The freshman did have an off night from the line, where he his just four of his 12 attempts. Derail Green also contributed in a big way while scoring 16 points and hitting four of his seven attempts from 3-point range.
“I think we stepped it up a little bit. We had to go and make it a play or it looked like they were going to win. Guys made plays, got aggressive with them, got a little physical and forced a couple of those turnovers.”
– Jon Elmore, Marshall guard after helping lead the Thundering Herd’s late rally to beat UNT
Our take: A disastrous season finished in a fitting manner for UNT on Saturday at Marshall. The Mean Green had a five-point lead with 86 seconds left and blew it.
UNT took a 104-99 lead on a Reese 3 before disaster struck. Ryan Taylor hit one of two foul shots with 1:14 remaining. Lawson missed a 3 with 52 seconds left, before Taylor hit a layup with 41 seconds remaining to draw Marshall within 104-102.
Lawson then missed two free throws with 40 seconds left. Taylor hit a free throw to bring Marshall within one at 104-103 with 25 seconds remaining.
UNT couldn’t get the ball in and turned the ball over on a five-second call.
Taylor hit another layup with seven seconds remaining to put Marshall up 105-104. UNT turned the ball over again with six seconds left.
Taylor hit another free throw and Lawson missed a layup at the buzzer.
The loss was another milestone in the epic collapse of the program under head coach Tony Bebford. UNT finished with 22 losses, the most in a season for the Mean Green since they finished 4-24 in their final season playing under Vic Trilli in the 2000-01 season.
The question now becomes what happens in the next few weeks in terms of the makeup of the UNT coaching staff and roster.
UNT athletic director Wren Baker has maintained throughout the season that he will evaluate the program after the season. That season is now over.
There are also questions about which players will return. The best player on the Mean Green’s roster is injured forward Jeremy Combs, who said during the season that he wouldn’t consider his future until after the year.
Combs has not redshirted and is a great student. He could look to transfer instead of coming back for what is sure to be a pretty big rebuilding project. UNT will lose Reese, Derail Green and Deckie Johnson to graduation. Injured guard Keith Frazier is also listed as a senior.
UNT has some good young players, but the Mean Green are looking at a pretty big rebuilding project.
The question now is who will be around to take part in it.