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Ragin’ Cajuns torch men’s basketball
Ryne Gannoe / Senior Staff Writer
The Mean Green men’s basketball team’s defense collapsed during the 105–74 trouncing courtesy of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. 2002 was the last time UNT allowed more than 100 points in a game.
While the final numbers are lopsided, it was still a tight game until midway through the second half.
In the first half, the Ragin’ Cajuns (8-15, 4-8) led by as much as 17 points, but sophomore guard Jordan William’s 31-point performance – his third straight 20-point performance – helped the Mean Green (8-15, 3-9) stay in the game.
Senior forward Roger Franklin said this is what he expects out of Williams.
“Jordan played very well,” Franklin said. “You have to keep playing hard. You have to have the mindset that you can’t be stopped. You’re going to continue to see this from Jordan his entire career.”
UNT roared back to life to start the second half, closing the lead to four. All of the Mean Green’s momentum disappeared when sophomore forward Tony Mitchell was called for a technical foul after successfully blocking a shot.
The foul was his fourth of the game and Mitchell was forced to the bench to avoid picking up his fifth foul too early in the game. ULL went on to outscore the Mean Green 60-37 in second half.
“That was a huge momentum swing,” Franklin said. “Now they’re shooting two free throws and getting the ball back. That was basically a jump start for their engine.”
Mitchell finished the game with seven points, four blocks and four fouls in 25 minutes of play.
Mitchell wasn’t the only UNT member with foul trouble. Freshman guard P.J. Hardwick left the game after using up all of his fouls and Franklin was forced to play cautiously with four.
After objecting to a call, head coach Tony Benford received a technical foul from the sideline as well.
“We have to keep our poise,” Benford said. “They were struggling like we were struggling. I thought we really got out of character.”
Williams said the team has to have a better understanding of the team’s situation playing short-handed because of injury.
“We were playing a little too aggressive knowing we don’t have that many players,” he said.
Road trip roundup
For the next game, the Mean Green heads to Jonesboro to take on the Arkansas State Red Wolves (13-8, 7-5).
ASU is in second place in the Sun Belt Conference West Division and is coming off a win over the University of South Alabama on Thursday.
This matchup will be the first of two times the teams will face off this year.
The game tips off at 7 p.m. tomorrow and will be broadcasted on 88.1 KNTU.
Sports editor Tyler Owens contributed to this post.