North Texas Daily

Men’s basketball dominates conference leader on senior night

Men’s basketball dominates conference leader on senior night

February 28
23:30 2013

Ryne Gannoe / Senior Staff Writer

UNT ended the regular season in emphatic fashion by defeating the Sun Belt Western Division champion Arkansas State University Red Wolves 74-50 Thursday night.

The Super Pit erupted in a standing ovation as the clock wound down. Senior forwards Roger Franklin and Niko Stojiljkovic played in their final home game in Mean Green uniforms. Senior forwards Jacob Holmen and Justin Patton, whose seasons ended early because of injury, were also recognized before the game.

Sophomore forward Tony Mitchell said the team is finally coming together after a challenging season.

“Everybody knows it’s been a tough season with the injuries and different instabilities we had within the season,” Mitchell said. “It was a great win all around. It was a team win. We played with passion, played hard and we did it for the seniors. So, we just have to carry that on to the tournament and win four games straight.”

Four UNT players finished with double-digit points, Franklin finished with 16 and junior guard Alzee Williams led the team with 19. Sophomores Mitchell and guard Jordan Williams had 10 and 16, respectively.

The Mean Green (12-19, 7-13) had one of its best defensive performances of the season. It held Arkansas State (18-10, 12-7) to 25 percent shooting from the floor and 1 for 23 from three-point range. UNT shot 48.1 percent on the evening and 30 percent from three-point range.

Head coach Tony Benford said the return of sophomore guard Chris Jones completed the defense.

“We’re in last place in the league in three-point field goal percentage defense, but I think getting Chris back allows us to have some more quickness on the perimeter and we can contest three-point shots better,” Benford said. “We kept them out of transition and when we had our half-court defense set. We made it difficult for those guys to get in the paint.”

In the postgame press conference Franklin expressed his feelings about his time at UNT.

“It’s hard to leave home, it really is,” Franklin said. “I can actually say the University of North Texas prepared me. I grew from a boy to a young man here. It’s tough, but I understand that one of the things I can never get back is time and I took advantage of this time each and every day, every single second.”

The Mean Green will head to Hot Springs, Ark. for the four-day Sun Belt Conference tournament next Friday as either the No. 8 or No. 9 seed, depending on the outcome of Troy University’s game Saturday against the University of South Alabama.

“I wouldn’t want to play us to be honest with you,” Benford said. “I’m going to take four suits, so we’ll see what happens.”

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