Grant McCasland

North Texas coach Grant McCasland watches his team from the sideline during a game at the Super Pit earlier this season.

Final: North Texas 51, Louisiana Tech 50

Where UNT stands: The Mean Green won their fifth straight game to improve to 11-8 on the season and 5-1 in Conference USA after edging Louisiana Tech in a key conference game. UNT and Western Kentucky are both 5-1 in C-USA play, while Charlotte is 4-1.

Now what?: UNT will face Rice on Monday after a quick turnaround following its win over Louisiana Tech. The game marks the opening of a four-game series against C-USA's Texas teams. UNT will play Rice twice in that stretch and will also take on UTEP and UTSA.

Star of the day: Javion Hamlet didn't have his biggest day in terms of production. He finished with eight points but hit the game-winning shot. Louisiana Tech guard Amorie Archibald hit a layup with five seconds left to give the Bulldogs a 50-49 lead. UNT got the ball to Hamlet, who drove the length of the floor and hit a floater at the buzzer.

Say what?:

"We practice that play every day. I knew it was good."

-- Hamlet, UNT guard on his game-winning shot.

Our take: UNT continued to establish itself as a contender for the C-USA title with its win over Louisiana Tech. 

UNT hadn't won a game against the Bulldogs in Ruston since 1952 before breaking through on Saturday.

The win, combined with Western Kentucky's win over Charlotte, vaulted the Mean Green to the top of the C-USA standings. UNT and WKU are both 5-1 with Charlotte a half a game back at 4-1.

UNT is in position to earn a spot in the top pod when bonus play comes around in C-USA this year.

The Mean Green appeared as if they would roll after taking a 13-point lead in the first half before Louisiana Tech grabbed momentum and came back to take the lead.

The fact that UNT was able to steady itself in a hostile environment on the road and pull out the win is a great sign for the Mean Green.

Umoja Gibson led UNT with 15 points, while Zachary Simmons added 12.

UNT has a very favorable schedule coming up with its two games against Rice and one each against UTSA and UTEP. All three are at .500 or under in C-USA play.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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