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Men’s basketball seniors prepare for last home game
Quentin Hope / Staff Writer
UNT men’s basketball will play host to Arkansas State University for the second time this season in the team’s final home game before the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
The Sun Belt West Division-winning Red Wolves (18-9, 12-6) come into Denton with a 21-18 all-time series lead over the Mean Green (11-19, 6-13). However, two of the last three victories belong to UNT. Five seniors for the Mean Green will be playing in their final home games. Senior guard Roger Franklin said he would like to go out with a win.
“It’s my senior night – my last hoo-rah,” Franklin said. “I want to go out on top, and one of the main things is to not make the same mistakes we did the last time.”
In the last game against ASU on Feb. 2, UNT lost 75-66 in overtime. The Mean Green was out-scored 16-7 in the extra period.
“Coach has been giving is the scouting report telling us to focus, play hard and come prepared,” freshman guard P.J. Hardwick said.
Franklin said that if the team heads into the conference tournament with a win fresh in its mind, it could gain momentum and compete with any team.
“This is when you need to start coming into a mindset saying we’re going to step into this thing [SBC Tournament] on a positive note and not worry about any of the negative that’s been trailing us,” Franklin said. “If we go out there and play with that equal mindset and play just as hard as each other, then we’ll get the win.”
The Mean Green is led by sophomore guard Jordan Williams, who is averaging 19.1 points in the last 10 games, including a 14-point performance in the last meeting with ASU. Sophomore All-American forward Tony Mitchell, who leads the SBC in blocks per game, averaging 2.7, said he has confidence in his team.
“We can win against anybody,” Mitchell said. “We’re just right there and now we go to play our best.”
Mitchell tallied 14 points and one block last time the teams met and will look at this game for the seniors and to gain momentum heading into the SBC Tournament. Like the seniors, if Mitchell leaves the team for the National Basketball Association as predicted next year, this will be his last home game as a member of the Mean Green.
“We’ve got all the pieces,” Mitchell said. “We just go to put it together and work hard to play our game. We can do anything we want.”
The game tips off tonight at 7 p.m. in the Super Pit.