By: Zachary Fox
The Mean Green made history Friday night in the first round of the 2021 March Madness tournament. It took overtime, but the better team was obviously the squad wearing victory green by scoring 17 points in the overtime period to Purdue's 8 to win 78-69. UNT won for the first time in the round of 64 and are now off to face Villanova this Sunday. Toppeling a red hot Purdue Boilermaker team engulfed with youthful freshman talent. Despite having home-state advantage, Purdue fell to a surprising Mean Green team led by Senior Thomas Bell (16 points). Bell was an avid defender with thunderous blocks and was a key scorer in the games biggest moments. Javion Hamlet also was a huge asset with his 24 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.
With the win, it keeps a March Madness streak alive with a 13 seed team to upset the number four. Most recently was 2019’s UC Irvine and Kansas State 70-64. The upset is a huge highlight of the day other than ORU taking out number two seed Ohio State.
North Texas, winner of the Conference USA tournament, entered the game with a 10th ranked defense nationally. Purdue’s young guns were known to be lethal behind the arc all season. But the Mean Green defense was stifling and held the shooters to 9 of 30 from three point range. Purdue's Mason Gillis described the Mean Green after the game as “hot tonight, they didn’t miss too many shots, played really well.” North Texas also led for 44 minutes of the game. Why not North Texas? The next Cinderella team? Those questions are still remaining to be answered but what we do know, is UNT has officially been put on the map and the tower has been lit.