North Texas' celebration implodes on itself; UALR pulls away for win

53    67

Right about the time the future NBA Draft pick started showboating, UALR made sure it imploded on him in a 67-53 victory over North Texas at the Jack Stephens Center.

UALR (10-8, 4-3 Sun Belt) stays above the .500 mark and moves into a first-place tie with Arkansas State in the West Division standings. North Texas falls to a puzzling 6-11 and 1-5 in Sun Belt play.

Tony Mitchell, North Texas’ all-everything future NBA Draft pick finished with 13 points and 5 rebounds. But it was his actions that seemed to spur UALR to the finish.

Mitchell got free on the baseline for a dunk and a 39-34 North Texas lead with 15:02 left. Mitchell, who had been pretty quiet at that point, celebrated with a pronounced salute in the direction of the UALR dance team.

UALR’s Ben Dillard scored at the other end before Mitchell nailed a three-pointer from the top of the key. As he turned to run down court, he spun and gave the big “three goggles” hand motion. It wasn’t subtle as he audibly screamed.  It gave North Texas a 42-36 lead with 14:20 left.

UALR then scored 18 of the next 20 points, taking a 54-44 lead on a layup by Josh Hagins with 7:23 left. By the time Mitchell scored again, North Texas was trailing by 17 points and well out of it.

The game was dominated by Hagins, who finished with 11 points, 8 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 blocked shots and 6 steals. But he had plenty of help.

James White, who had four dunks to Mitchell’s one, finished with 16 points. Will Neighbour needed one more point for his second double double in a head-to-head matchup with Mitchell. He ended up with 9 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocked shots. Leroy Isler also had 5 steals.