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2021 First Round: FAU, North Texas Move On

(5W) UTEP 70 (4E) FAU 76

FAU vs UTEP. Courtesy Conference USA
FAU vs UTEP, Courtesy Conference USA

UTEP did not lose because the refs blew an important call late, but it did help things go in that direction. Bryson Williams drove baseline got a bucket and (what he thought) was the foul but the ref pointed at the floor and said he stepped out. He didn’t, and that started the death spiral.

The above happened at 3:24 and the score was tied at 64. It was important but by no means decisive. Souley Boum finished with 23 points on 8 of 21 shooting but went 2 of 10 in the second half. This game was tight all night and fouls were handed out everywhere. Three UTEP guys were at 4 fouls and two for FAU, with one (Silins) fouling out.

Speaking of Karlis Silins, he went for 22 points on 7 of 12 shooting including a big 13 points in the second half. In the end UTEP was unable to get shots down the stretch while FAU simply made their free throws.

Next up for FAU is Louisiana Tech tomorrow. UTEP go into the offseason dealing with the disappointing season.

(3W) UNT 76 (6E) FAU 55

Javion Hamlet drives by MTSU. Courtesy Conference USA
Javion Hamlet drives by MTSU. Courtesy Conference USA

North Texas was favored to win this game and if you looked at the final score you would be unsurprised. There were some dicey moments and Middle led for a couple of moments (1:42 to be exact). NT fans were on twitter grumbling a bit about how close it was but Javion Hamlet and Thomas Bell exerted their talent. Hamlet put up 21 points on 9 of 16 shooting and 11 assists (2nd all time in a CUSA tournament game). Thomas Bell shot 7 of 9 for 19 points including 4 of 4 shooting from distance.

The Mean Green came into tonight having lost three straight to Marshall, UAB (twice) that cost them the 2nd seed. They looked like they learned their lesson and took their shots when they had open looks. NT shot 10 of 16 from three. James Reese also had 15 points.

Middle put up a good effort but were overmatched late. Jordan Davis had 12, but only 2 in the second half, while Jalen Jordan also had 12.

For North Texas, next up is ODU the 2-seed in the East. Their defense is much more stout and they are just about the most in-form team in the league, having nearly pulled out the top seed in the east division.

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