HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Troy battled all the way to the Sun Belt Championship game, but its eight-game victory streak was halted by North Texas 66-63 and the Trojans were denied a tournament title.
Troy led 40-38 at halftime, but North Texas used its inside muscle and some timely shooting from outside to overcome the Trojans in the second half. UNT was also aided by its foul shooting.
The team knocked down 12-of-19 attempts collectively compared to just 7-of-11 for Troy.
Following a Troy miss, Michael Vogler smartly tied-up Josh White and Troy had the ball with 1:17 left and a chance to tie.
Brandon Hazzard missed a trey that would’ve given Troy the lead, but the Trojans forced a turnover. North Texas fouled Hazzard with 53.4 seconds left and sent him to the line with a chance to tie.
The senior from Atlanta, Ga. sank both, knotting the game at 63 with 53.4 left. White got a runner to go with 23 seconds left for a two point lead. Hazzard had a lay-up blocked with seven seconds left, but Troy couldn’t recover the ball.
North Texas got the ball into White, but Troy wasn’t in the bonus and had to foul him again. He sank one and a desperation attempt by Vogler missed as time expired.
Antywan Jones’ second 3-pointer of the night cut Troy’s deficit to one point and two by Yamene Coleman gave the Trojans their first lead of the night, 12-11.
That started an extended period of back-and-forth play before Yamene Coleman gave Troy a 30-26 lead with seven minutes to go before the break.
The Mean Green opened up a four-point lead with 2:20 left in the opening stanza, but a jumper by Bernard Toombs and Hazzard’s first triple put Troy back in the lead.
Two free throws by White were followed by a Vogler 3-pointer, but following a North Texas turnover, the Trojans were unable to convert on a half-ending possession. The Trojans took a 40-38 lead into halftime.
The first half featured six ties and 12 lead changes as both teams battled for control in the opening frame.
The Mean Green opened up a five-point lead with a 3-pointer by White and Eric Tramiel made it 51-44 with 12:56 remaining in the game. Richard Delk halted the run with a two, but UNT answered immediately with a basket.
Troy worked the deficit to two points with a run up to the 3:35 mark. Following a White miss from outside, Coleman converted a hook shot in the lane to get Troy back into a tie game with 2:30 left.
Hazzard finished with 15 points to lead the Trojans. Vogler added 13 points with eight assists. Both were named to the all-tournament team. Troy will now wait to see where they will play in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament. The Trojans earned a berth for the NIT by virtue of its first place regular season finish.