HOT SPRINGS, Ark. -Mean Green men's basketball took down No. 1 overall seed Florida Atlantic Sunday night 78-64 on the Hot Springs Convention Center Court to advance to the Sun Belt Conference semi-finals.
Senior guard Tristan Thompson poured in a career high 36 points in the game, leading all scorers and falling just five points shy of the Sun Belt Conference scoring record of 41.
The first half saw FAU (21-10) jump out to a lead early as they hit 57.1 percent of their shots in the frame and took a slim 34-27 lead into halftime. The Owls were previously 18-0 when leading at the half.
Thompson would narrow that lead on the first possession of the second half as he drained the first three pointer of the game for the Mean Green and sparked the North Texas (21-10) rally.
It was a back-and-forth game from there, with the lead changing hands three times and the game being tied on five separate occasions until Thompson put North Texas on top with a 56-54 lead with 8:51 left in the game.
The Mean Green never looked back after that, outscoring the top-seeded Owls 22-10 in the final 8:51 and sealing its second straight trip to the Sun Belt Conference Semi-Finals.
Thompson set an SBC Tournament record single game record for free throws made with 20 and tied the record for free throws made in the tournament. The senior has 25 free throw makes (25-for-26) through two games of the SBC Tournament.
He is now one of only nine players in NCAA History to go 20-for-20 from the charity stripe and also snapped a 51-year old school record for free throws made in a season with 200 thus far.
North Texas owned the glass throughout the game, finishing with 42 rebounds to the Owls 18. George Odufuwa led the Mean Green with 11 boards and junior transfer Alonzo Edwards had a career night with nine in only 13 minutes of play.
The Mean Green will face Western Kentucky in the semi-final of the Sun Belt Tournament on Monday night in Summit Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. and can be seen on the Sun Belt Network.