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Mean Green hangs on in overtime win
Ryne Gannoe / Senior Staff Writer
Sophomore forward Tony Mitchell’s 24 points and eight rebounds led the Mean Green to a 61-59 overtime win over Florida Atlantic University Saturday night.
Mitchell posted one of his best performances this season after scoring a career-low zero points the game before.
“I really had a breakthrough,” Mitchell said. “Coach [Rob] Evans has been on my [case] this whole season. He kept saying ‘d***, when am I going to see Tony Mitchell?’ So basically, before we went out to play I said, ‘Coach, I’m ready,’ and I showed him. With a media time-out, four minutes left, he said, ‘Now that’s how you play.’”
Down by two with the clock draining, senior forward Roger Franklin put back a missed three-point shot to send the game into overtime. UNT (8-12, 3-6) struck first in the extra period and never relinquished the lead.
“It was exciting,” Mitchell said. “My heart was beating fast. It was a good team win. Everybody was playing hard.”
Franklin and sophomore guard Jordan Williams scored 12 and 14 points, respectively, joining Mitchell in double figures.
Freshman guard P.J. Hardwick had only two turnovers in 45 minutes of play, a significant improvement from the eight turnovers in 25 minutes the game before.
Hardwick said playing the extended minutes hasn’t tired him out and he felt the team’s Thursday loss fell on his poor performance.
“I had to make up for the FIU game,” Hardwick said. “I wanted to come run my team and do a better job.”
UNT’s defense held the Owls (10-10, 5-4) under its 64.8 points per game average, even with overtime. FAU senior guard Greg Gantt, the No. 4 scorer in the nation, didn’t meet his 22-point season average until the overtime period.
“Defensively, we were really good,” head coach Tony Benford said. “We did a great job taking away some of their three point shooters. Gantt takes so many shots he’s going to make shots, but we made him make tough shots.”
The win over FAU is the team’s first in Boca Raton. This is also the team’s first true away game win this season. They have two road wins, but those games were played at neutral sites.
The Mean Green tips off against Middle Tennessee at 7 p.m. Thursday at home in the Super Pit.