It’s Senior Day here at the Super Pit for the UNT men’s basketball team, which will take on Old Dominion today.
The Mean Green are in the midst of their best stretch of basketball in the Tony Benford era and have won five straight. Pretty much everything has gone right for UNT in the last couple of weeks.
UNT’s run has lifted the Mean Green (14-13, 8-7) into a tie with Middle Tennessee for sixth in the Conference USA standings entering today’s games.
We’ll get to the conference race.
More importantly, the Mean Green, who will honor a host of really important players today. I can’t say enough about Jordan Williams and what he has done for the program. He is the ninth-leading scorer in school history with 1,468 points and was the foundation piece that helped Johnny Jones, Shawn Forrest and Charlie Leonard reload after taking UNT to just its third NCAA tournament appearance in school history and the second in Jones’ tenure a couple of years ago.
Chris Jones, Tony Mitchell and a host of key players followed. It didn’t work out for the group, but that was a heck of a recruiting haul that Williams helped spark.
Colin Voss has been a good two-year player and T.J. Taylor has also been a key piece, especially this year. Armani Flannigan has also had his moments and will be honored today.
The question now is if UNT can keep its momentum going after winning five straight. ODU is pretty good and is 21-6 overall, including a 10-5 mark in C-USA.
ODU took UNT to the woodshed in the teams’ first meeting this year, winning 61-50. UNT has a good win over UAB during its streak and also posted a dramatic comeback from 21 down to beat Middle Tennessee.
A win today would certainly help UNT.
Unfortunately for the Mean Green, the weather has really cut into the crowd. UNT had plans to bring in 2,000 local elementary students to today’s game, but had the group cancel.
Stay tuned. I will update the blog all night long.
4:30 — In a side note, MTSU and UAB are in double overtime. UNT and MTSU are tied for sixth in the C-USA standings.
Tipoff — UNT starters: TJ Taylor, Jordan Williams, Maurice Aniefiok, Jeremy Combs, Colin Voss.
15:55 — UNT is off to a quick 7-2 start. TJ Taylor and Maruice Aniefiok both have 3s. Trey Freeman just hit a jumper to put ODU on the board. That shot came after a questionable call under the UNT basket. It looked like Colin Voss drew a foul, but he didn’t get the call. Tony Benford was nearly T-ed up and was warned. He probably right that officials missed the call, which is why he didn’t get rung up.
11:50 — UNT is up 13-10 at the second media timeout of the first half. The Mean Green forced a turnover and will have the ball coming out of this timeout. Colin Voss has four points on a couple of very Colin Voss-like faceup jumpers. UNT is playing really well defensively early on.
10:34 — UNT is up 17-10 and has Jeremy Combs headed to the line to try to complete a three-point play. TO ODU.
7:00 — UNT is up 28-20 at the third media timeout of the first half. Maurice Aniefiok has 10 points to lead UNT, which is shooting 57 percent from the field. Colin Voss has six points for UNT. Trey Freeman is the only player scoring consistently for ODU and has nine points.
3:38 — UNT is up 32-23 late in the first half. Maurice Aniefiok has 10 points for UNT. Colin Voss just hit another jumper to put the Mean Green up nine. UNT is shooting 53 percent from the field. Trey Freeman has 12 for ODU and is keeping the Monarchs within striking distance.
1:22 — UNT is up 33-37 and just took its 30-second timeout. ODU had a good look at a 3 that would have made this a one-possession game, but missed it.
Halftime — UNT went cold late in the first half, but held strong on the defensive end and is up 33-27 at the end of the first half. Maurice Aniefiok has 10 points for UNT, despite going to the bench with 6:24 left in the half with three fouls. ODU finished with a 19-15 edge on the glass. UNT has scored 10 points at the free throw line.
15:58 — Welp, here comes ODU. The Monarchs are on a 9-0 run and have a 36-35 lead. Trey Freeman has ODU’s last four points and stuck a jumper from the free throw line to give the Monarchs their first lead. TO UNT. This will be a quick turnaround before the media timeout.
15:14 — Trey Freeman hit a layup after ODU came up with a steal on UNT’s last possession. The Monarchs are up 38-35. UNT will have the ball here. It’s dead quiet in the Super Pit at the moment. Maurice Aniefiok and Colin Voss have 10 points each. ODU has clamped down on UNT defensively in the early stages of the second half.
11:30 — UNT coughed up a 12-0 run early in the second half and was down by seven after Jordan Baker hit a 3 for ODU. T.J. Taylor answered with a 3 of his own just when UNT needed it. The Monarchs are up 45-41. Colin Voss has 12 points for UNT. ODU has shot the ball really well in the second half, going seven for 11.
7:54 — UNT is down 53-45 and just took a timeout. We will get a media timeout here right after this.
6:25 — UNT is down 53-45 at the media timeout. The Mean Green will be headed to the line, where Colin Voss will have two shots. That’s pretty much two guaranteed points. Colin Voss has 12 points, while Maurice Aniefiok has 10. He hasn’t scored since his quick start in the first half.
3:23 — UNT is down 60-53 and just turned the ball over on its last possession. Maurice Aniefiok hit a big 3 for UNT to get the Mean Green within five, but ODU answered with a beautiful backdoor cut for a layup. The way ODU plays defense could make this tough for UNT to come back from. Colin Voss has 14 for UNT.
2:53 — ODU picked up a steal and called a timeout to hang on to it as UNT dug for it. UNT trails 62-53.
1:08 — UNT is down 64-55 and just called a timeout. Trey Freeman has 22 points for ODU and is killing the Mean Green.
Final — ODU 70, UNT 57. I will be back later.