DENTON, Texas (1/5/12) - The ULM basketball team's shooting heated up in the final five minutes as the Warhawks overtook the Mean Green, 81-68, on Saturday night at the Super Pit.
The Mean Green falls to 6-10 overall and 1-4 in the Sun Belt, while ULM improves to 3-8 and 2-3 in the conference. ULM leads the overall series, 29-23 but has won only two of the last 12 meetings.
While the first half featured large runs from each team, the second period was a much closer affair with neither team leading by more than three points for the first 17 minutes. The score was tied 15 times, and the game featured 18 lead changes.
"We made a run at them," said North Texas head coach Tony Benford. "We knew they were a good three-point shooting team. We couldn't guard them the second half. We zoned them, we manned them, tried to keep them off balance, but they shot 68 percent in the second half and out-rebounded us 30-19. That can't happen."
In the final five minutes of play, the Mean Green's field-goal shooting went cold, and at the same time ULM heated up, scoring eight unanswered points to take a seven-point lead, 68-61, at 2:43.
Except for P.J. Hardwick's two baskets in the final 30 seconds of the game, North Texas did not make a field goal in the final five minutes. Roger Franklin made a layup at 5:48 to give the Mean Green its final lead of the game, 61-60. Tony Mitchell's 3-pointer at 9:24 was the only other Mean Green field goal in the last 10 minutes of the game.
Marcelis Hansberry hit a 3-pointer at 1:26 to keep ULM ahead, 71-64, and the Warhawks scored 13 of the final 17 points of the game to seal the win.
Justin Patton scored a career-high 16 points in his second start this season, and Jordan Williams joined him with 16 points. Williams led the Mean Green in the first half with 13 points. Mitchell posted his 13th game in double-figures this season with 15. In his second start, Hardwick scored a career-high eight points and dished out six assists.
Both teams shot 47 percent in the first half leading to a 30-30 tie. ULM heated up down the stretch, hitting 17-of-25 shots (68 percent) in the second half. The Warhawks also dominated the boards in the game, 30-19, and made more 3-pointers (8 to 4) than the Mean Green.
In the first half, Jordan Williams led the Mean Green to a 9-6 advantage, scoring all of the points for North Texas at 15:56. ULM responded with a 15-4 run to take a 21-13 lead at 8:48. The Warhawks hit four 3-pointers in the spread.
North Texas answered with a run of its own, scoring 15 straight points to take back the lead, 28-21, at 5:36. The run included points from five different players with dunks by Jordan Williams and Franklin.
ULM scored nine of the last 11 points of the first half to end the first half with a tie ballgame, 30-30.
North Texas returns to action when it faces UALR on the road on Thursday, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m.