MONROE, La. (2/10/07) The showdown between the top two teams in the Sun Belt Conference West Division went to Louisiana-Monroe (16-10, 10-4) as they outlasted North Texas (16-9, 7-7) 66-62 to pick up the win at Fant-Ewing Coliseum. The Warhawks, who trailed by eight points at the half, rallied to remain perfect at home this season and take a commanding lead in the West Division
Give them (Louisiana-Monroe) credit because they played well down the stretch and made some plays,“ said North Texas head Johnny Jones. “I thought our guys played really hard but you can’t have any lapses against a really good basketball team”.
Hot-shooting from Michael Sturns and Calvin Watson in the first half gave the Mean Green a 35-27 lead at the break. Sturns had 10 points at the break while Watson had eight.
Louisiana-Monroe began its comeback early in the second half with a 13-3 run in the first five minutes to take a 40-38 lead. The Mean Green responded by battling back to take a 52-49 lead on a basket by Harold Stewart with 6:33 remaining. North Texas maintained that three-point lead at 58-55 with 3:23 left when the Warhawks made their final push.
Three straight free-throws tied the game at 58-58 with 1:40 remaining and a lay-up by Lance Brasher gave the Warhawks a two-point lead at 60-58 with one minute to play. Kendrick Davis answered with a lay-up of his own to even the score at 60-60 with 54 seconds remaining.
Tony Hooper hit a baseline jumper with 31 second left to put the Warhawks back up by two at 62-60. Davis had a shot at tying the game with a jumper from the baseline with 15 seconds left but it rimmed out.
Two free throws by Jordan Payne iced the game for Louisiana-Monroe
Watson and Sturns both had a team-high 14 points as Watson knocked down two 3-pointers and has 69 now on the season, which ties him for the third most in school history in a single season.
North Texas returns to action on Thursday, February 15 with a road battle against the Denver Pioneers at 8 p.m.