LAFAYETTE, La. (3/4/07) The Mean Green marches on. Led by a furious second half rally the North Texas men’s basketball team knocked off Louisiana-Monroe 77-71 in overtime in the 2007 Sun Belt Conference Tournament at the Cajundome. North Texas, the No. 5 seed, faces Middle Tennessee, the No. 9 seed, in the semifinals of the Sun Belt Tournament Monday night at 6:30 p.m.
The win is the 21st on the season for North Texas, the programs most since it had 22 in 1977-78. The 21 wins ties for the third most in school history.
“Our guys really fought hard and battled especially in the second half,” said North Texas head coach Johnny Jones. “We kept fighting and even when the shots weren’t falling we kept hanging in there and made enough plays down the stretch”.
Four players scored in double figures led by Quincy Williams and Harold Stewart who both registered double-doubles.
Trailing at the break 36-24, the Mean Green began its comeback. North Texas scored the first seven points of the second half to make it 36-31 Warhawks. The rally was capped when North Texas regained the lead at 49-47 on a jumper by Stewart. The two teams went back and forth in the final eight minutes.
Trailing by three at 62-59, Calvin Watson nailed a 3-pointer with 2:40 remaining to tie the score. Williams gave the Mean Green at two-point lead at 64-62 with 1:22 left before Tony Hooper tied the score back up at 64 apiece with 52 seconds left.
Hooper had a chance to win the game in the waning seconds, but guard Ben Bell stole the ball with three seconds in regulation to force the overtime. In overtime North Texas led wire-to-wire.
The lead grew to seven points when Stewart hit two free throws to make it 73-66.
Louisiana-Monroe had one final rally but Lance Brasher’s 3-pointer with 35 seconds rattled in and out and the Mean Green put the game away at the free throw line.
Stewart notched his first career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds while Williams had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Watson had a team-high 19 points. 17 of those came in the second half and the overtime period.