ST. LOUIS — Tony Mitchell carried the Mean Green in the first half and Chris Jones took over in the second, but Saint Louis had the answer in the closing seconds to knock off North Texas 67-63.
Mitchell, an All-American candidate, wowed the crowd with 18 points — 14 in the first half — and Jones racked up a game-high 21 points in willing the Mean Green (3-6) back into a tight down-to-the-wire ballgame.
Jones’ three-point play with 6:53 on the clock cut the Billikens (5-3) lead to two points, and the sophomore tied the score at 54 on the next trip down the floor. He gave UNT its first lead of the second half its next possession with a layup from the left baseline.
Down a bucket with just under a minute to play, Roger Franklin hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 61 apiece. Jordair Jett responded for SLU with a layup on the other end that would prove the game-winner. Jones had a look at the game-tying runner, but it rimmed out, and SLU closed the contest with free throws.
Free throws and defense kept the Mean Green in the game. UNT was 15 of 16 from the line, which is good for the third best mark in school history. UNT held the Billikens to 39.2 percent shooting.
North Texas heads home for a Saturday night matchup with Jackson State at 6 p.m. at the Super Pit.