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Men’s basketball drops early lead, falls to ULM
Ryne Gannoe / Senior Staff Writer
Senior forward Roger Franklin’s 22 points and 11 rebounds weren’t enough to close out the University of Louisiana-Monroe Thursday night. The Mean Green jumped out to a lead in the first half but failed to keep pace with the Warhawks in second half, ultimately falling 85-73.
UNT (9-18, 4-12) held a 15-point lead at one point in the game, but ULM (4-17, 3-13) wore down the short-handed Mean Green. The Warhawks have won only four games this season, half of which were against UNT. Head coach Tony Benford said the team’s offense played well, but added that it gave too many opportunities on defense.
“We played twenty minutes of basketball,” Benford said. “I felt like we didn’t execute and we didn’t have any poise down the stretch. It wasn’t our offense it was our defense.”
ULM is in last place in the Sun Belt and Benford said this loss wasn’t easy to digest.
“That’s a tough loss,” he said. “One of those that I’m really embarrassed with, to be honest with you.”
The tale of two halves was visible in the stat line. UNT had 12 assists and four turnovers in the first half, but in the second half it flipped. The team committed 12 turnovers and assisted only three times.
“We had them down and once you have a team down, as they say in every sport, you have to step on their neck,” Franklin said. “We let them get back up. If you let an animal get back up it’s going to fight back.”
Traveling to Troy
The Mean Green finishes its away game double-header against Troy (11-15, 6-9) in Troy, Ala. on Saturday. When the two teams met in Denton earlier this season, UNT walked away with a 17-point victory. Sophomore forward Tony Mitchell scored a season-high 29 points that night.
UNT needs a similar performance to find some traction heading into the Sun Belt Conference tournament.
Sophomore guard Jordan Williams said he and Franklin are playing well, but that everyone needs to feed off the energy.
“Roger is our leader,” Williams said. “He gives the speech in the locker room. We are just trying to feed off Roger and trying to get the team to come on with it.”
The Trojans and Mean Green tip off at 7 p.m. Saturday.