Brandan Walton scored 17, Chris Jones finished with 16, and Jordan Williams chipped in with an 11 point 14 rebound performance to lead North Texas to a 63-62 win over Rice in the opener of the Conference USA tournament.
Rice took the lead early on a Max Guercy made layup just 30 seconds into the ballgame, and would hold on to that lead nearly for the entire remainder of the contest. The Owls would lead by as many as 11 on multiple occasions in the first half, and would enjoy a 30-21 lead at the intermission.
North Texas would chip away at the Rice lead, and would take their first lead since the 18:00 mark of the first half on a Colin Voss jumper that put the Mean Green ahead 41-39 with 9:26 to play.
The Owls would answer with seven straight to go up 46-41, and they would extend that lead to as many as seven with just 1:52 to play. UNT would respond though, closing regulation on a 7-0 run to force the extra frame.
Rice would once again find themselves with a lead late in the overtime, leading 62-61 with :24 to play, but a foul on the Owls' Ross Wilson with :11 left sent Chris Jones to the line for the tying and go ahead points.
Marcus Jackson would miss a shot at the buzzer, and the 10th seeded Mean Green escaped 63-62. They will now advance to take on 7th seeded Tulane tomorrow at noon.
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