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Basketball team grabs second straight win
Ryne Gannoe / Senior Staff Writer
The UNT men’s basketball team’s 9-0 overtime run against Florida Atlantic University led to the a 66-57 victory on Thursday night. It finished the season sweep of FAU and was the third consecutive game between the teams to go to into overtime.
Neither team was able to separate in the first half, ending in a 35-35 tie. In the second half, UNT (12-17, 7-11) fought its way back after allowing FAU (11-18, 6-12) to go on an 8-0 run to start the period. The Mean Green then responded with a 10-0 run of its own.
Freshman guard P.J Hardwick missed a chance to seal the win in regulation. His jump shot at the buzzer bounced off the rim, sending the game into an extra period.
For the first two and a half minutes, neither team made a shot. The first points came from senior forward Roger Franklin’s shot clock-beating three- pointer, which sent the bench into a frenzy
“When I took that shot, I wanted to make a big play and I saw the shot clock running down,” Franklin said. “We’re starting to play hard. When you’re playing hard on defense, the offensive side is easier because you have momentum.”
After Franklin gave the Mean Green the lead, the team’s defense held FAU, including the Sun Belt Conference’s leading scorer and senior guard Greg Gantt, scoreless in overtime. Entering the game, Gantt averaged 21.4 points a game while scoring 18 points Thursday.
“We contested them,” head coach Tony Benford said. “We held them to 4-19 from the three-point line. Gantt is averaging almost four threes a game himself. These guys did a great defensive job.”
Franklin had a game-high 20 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Jordan Williams scored 14 points, a mark he’s reached in every game in more than a month.
With the victory over the Owls, UNT has consecutive wins for the first time since Dec. 8 and 16 against Jackson State University and Southern Louisiana University. Williams said this is the momentum the Mean Green needs to have a shot at winning the SBC tournament on March 8-11.
“This was a big win for us,” he said. “We finally got it together. We’re going to push through this game on Saturday and push through the conference tournament.”
Battle in Alabama
The Mean Green will travel to Mobile, Ala. for a showdown with University of South Alabama in its final road game of the regular season. UNT won the first meeting this season 66-56 at home on Jan. 12. South Alabama is in second place in the Sun Belt East Division and has only lost four conference games this season.
UNT will have to deal with USA’s junior forward Augustine Rubit, who averages 19.6 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. The game tips off at 7 p.m. Saturday.