Welcoming The Champs!
LAFAYETTE, La. (3/6/07) Get the dancing shoes out, the Mean Green is off to the NCAA Tournament. Senior Calvin Watson powered the North Texas men’s basketball team to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 1987-88 season with a 83-75 win over Arkansas State in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship.
The win was the first for the Mean Green (23-10) in three tries over the Indians (18-15), giving the Mean Green it's first ever Sun Belt Conference title. The 23 wins is the most ever by a North Texas team.
Watson, who had 24 points and six 3-pointers, was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and guard Ben Bell was also named to the all-tournament team.
The Mean Green led by as much as eight in the first half behind three of Watson's launches from behind the arc, but could only take a one-point lead into the break at 37-36. The Indians grabbed six offensive rebounds and put seven players in the scoring column in the half to stay within striking distance.
North Texas pushed the lead to six early in the second half on a layup by Watson, but Arkansas State was far from done as the tribe answered with a 10-3 run capped by an Adrian Banks three-pointer to give the Indians their final lead at 50-49.
Bell would then answer the call as he scored seven of the next 13 Mean Green points as North Texas regained the lead and never gave it back. Bell would finish with his third consecutive game in double figures with 11 points to go along with five assists.
It was Bell that connected with a cutting Rich Young for an alley-oop dunk that put sent the Cajundome crowd into a frenzy. Young would finish with another glue-like game, putting up 15 points, five assists, four steals, and a pair of blocks.
The Mean Green would hit seven of nine free throws in the final two minutes to claim the title.