HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - The magical run for the North Texas men's basketball team wasn't about to end in the quarterfinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament as the Mean Green (22-8) rallied from a seven-point deficit with four minutes left to beat ULM 69-66 from the Summit Arena.
North Texas, which trailed by as many as 14 points, was down 60-53 with 3:43 left in the game, but outscored the Warhawks 16-6 down the stretch to win and advance to the semifinals to face the Denver Pioneers tomorrow night at 8:30.
Tristan Thompson began the rally for the Mean Green with a 3-pointer with 2:23 left in the game to pull North Texas to three points at 61-58. Thompson then came up with a steal and knocked down two free throws to make it a one-point game at 61-60.
After another defensive stop, North Texas took its first lead of the game on a Josh White 3-pointer with 1:46 left. ULM (12-19) answered with a 3-pointer from Tony Hooper to make it 64-63 Warhawks.
North Texas re-took the lead at 65-64 on an Eric Tramiel layup with 54 seconds left. The Mean Green extended the lead to 67-64 with 40 seconds to play.
A Tony Sykes basket with 27 seconds cut it to a one-point game at 67-66, but two free throws by White pushed the lead to three points at 69-66 with 14 seconds left in the game.
ULM had one final chance but a 3-pointer by Hooper was off the mark. Sykes was fouled with three seconds left but missed both free throws and the Mean Green sealed the win.
ULM raced out to an early 13-2 lead on North Texas in the first six minutes of the game paced by a quick seven points from Tommy Sykes.
North Texas sliced into the ULM lead with back-to-back hoops from Tramiel to make it 22-14 with 8:04 remaining in the first half.
ULM got five straight points from Lawrence Gilbert to take a 27-14 lead with six minutes left. North Texas answered back with an 8-0 run capped off by a Collin Mangrum 3-pointer to make it 27-22 ULM with 3:46 left in the half.
ULM took a six point into the break at 33-27.
Tramiel ended the night with 22 points and 17 rebounds while White had 18 points and Thompson added 16.