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Men's Basketball's Season Concludes With 84-77 NIT Loss To North Texas

Jordan Wright led LSU with 25 points and knocked down four 3-pointers in the loss. It was Wright's fifth game this season with 20 or more points.

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Men's Basketball's Season Concludes With 84-77 NIT Loss To North Texas

BATON ROUGE, La. – North Texas avenged its loss to LSU earlier this season by holding on to win 84-77 in the opening round of the NIT on Tuesday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. 

LSU’s season concludes with a 17-16 record, while North Texas, the defending NIT champions, advances to the second round with a record standing at 19-14. 

In his final collegiate game, Jordan Wright paced the Tigers with 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting, including four triples. He also had six rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Trae Hannibal followed with 15 points and a game-high nine rebounds, and Hunter Dean chipped in 11 points.

North Texas had four players finish with double-digit scoring. CJ Noland led the way with 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting and was 3-of-4 from behind the arc. Rubin Jones scored 17 points and had four assists and four steals, Jason Edwards tallied 16 points, and Aaron Scott finished with 14 points and a team-best seven rebounds.

Down by 12 points with three minutes remaining, LSU stormed back with a 9-2 run, highlighted by a triple from Tyrell Ward, to cut an 18-point deficit to five points at 80-75 with 52 seconds remaining in the game. North Texas was able to hold off the Tigers and scored six of the final 10 points to seal the game.

LSU shot 45 percent from the floor (27-of-60), hit 11 3-pointers, and was a perfect 12-0f-12 from the charity stripe. However, North Texas shot 49.2 percent from the field (29-of-59) and made 11 3-point field goals. UNT outrebounded LSU 35-32, including 12-10 on the offensive glass, and won the battle in second-chance points, 17-9. Each team scored 46 points in the final 20 minutes. 

The Tigers scored the first five points of the game and led by as many as six points at 17-11 with 10:39 on the clock, but a 13-2 run highlighted by eight unanswered points by the Mean Green gave the visiting club a 30-22 lead with 5:37 left in the first half. LSU cut the deficit to five points at 32-27, but North Texas pieced together a 6-0 run, pushing its lead back to 38-27 and forcing the Tigers to signal for time with 2:20 remaining. LSU scored the final four points of the opening half, all at the free throw line, and went into the locker down 38-31. 

LSU pulled within four points three different times early in the second half, highlighted by triples from Will Baker and Dean, but North Texas ballooned its lead back to 17 at 62-45, sparked by three consecutive possessions ending with a 3-point field goal.

After the Mean Green stretched their lead to their largest margin of the game, 66-48, Wright connected on back-to-back triples to bring the score to 66-54, and UNT signaled for a timeout with 7:21 left to play in the game. 

LSU dwindled the margin to 10 points at 76-66 with just over three minutes left after Wright scored six consecutive points, igniting a final run that dropped UNT’s lead to single digits. 

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