GAME NOTES: The 10th-seeded North Texas Mean Green will try to continue their momentum into Wednesday as they square off with the seventh-seeded Tulane Green Wave in the second round of the Conference USA Tournament at the Don Haskins Center.
The winner of this game will advance to take on No. 2 Tulsa on Thursday.
North Texas barely survived its opening round tilt versus the 15th-seeded Rice Owls on Tuesday. The Mean Green trailed, 30-21 at halftime before surging back in the second half to tie the score at 56 and force an extra session. Behind a pair of made free throws by Chris Jones, North Texas then took a 63-62 lead in overtime and came up with a defensive stop on the other end to punch its ticket to the second round. The Mean Green have now won 16 of their last 21 conference tournament games. The decision snapped a two-game losing streak and was the first by North Texas on a neutral floor this season.
With only one returning starter from last season's 20 win squad, the Green Wave exceeded expectations to arrive at the No. 7 seed. Coach Ed Conroy's team had trouble against the league's toughest members and went 0-7 versus the six schools ahead of it in the final standings. The Green Wave have been extremely streaky offensively towards their average of 64.3 ppg and are allowing an even 70 ppg to their foes. Tulane made 35.1 percent of its 3-pointers in C-USA games to rank third in the league in efficiency from beyond the arc.
This will be just the second meeting in history between these programs on the hardwood. Tulane coasted to a 73-62 win over North Texas at The Super Pit on Jan. 11 in the first matchup. The Green Wave never trailed the Mean Green in that game.
In the Mean Green's victory on Tuesday, Brandan Walton knocked down 4-of-12 attempts from 3-point range en route to a team-high 17 points. Colin Voss scored 16 points and pulled down nine rebounds, while Jordan Williams recorded a double-double with 11 points and 14 boards. The Mean Green outscored Rice at the free-throw line, 21-14, and finished with a 45-38 advantage in total rebounds. The Owls exposed NT's poor perimeter defense as they went 10-of-23 from 3-point range. Jordan Williams leads UNT with 12.3 ppg on 40.8 percent efficiency from the floor and also grabs a team-high 6.5 rpg. Senior guard Alzee Williams is the team's only other double-digit scorer at 11.3 ppg.
Sophomore guard Louis Dabney paces Tulane in the scoring column with 15.8 ppg, although he has made good on just 28.7 percent of his 3-point attempts. C-USA All Freshman team member Jonathan Stark and junior guard Jay Hook check in with 14.2 and 13.9 ppg, respectively, but the Green Wave clearly lack a reliable low-post presence. Stark also hands out a team-high 4.2 apg and 6- foot-6 forward Tre Drye (6.6 ppg) paces the squad on the glass with 7.4 rpg.
This is the 19th and final appearance for the Green Wave in the C-USA Championships. Tulane, which is set to join the American Athletic Conference next season, is just 8-18 in the C-USA Tournament. Although NT is playing its second game in as many days, it shook off all its rust versus Rice in the opening 30 minutes of the tourney. Although Tulane had a first-round bye, these schools have the exact same overall record and are pretty even in terms of talent as well.
Game Date and Time