INDIANAPOLIS — To be, or to not be? For an underdog named Javion Hamlet and his group of scrapping North Texas teammates, that was a simple query.
Hamlet scored 24 factors and Thomas Bell had 16, together with some game-changing protection in additional time, to raise the 13th-seeded Imply Inexperienced to a 78-69 win over No. four Purdue on Friday within the NCAA Event.
It marked the second teen-powered upset of the Massive Ten on the opening day of the NCAA Event — this one coming hours after No. 15 Oral Roberts knocked out Ohio State.
What a terrific prize for Hamlet and Bell, a pair of seniors who led the Imply Inexperienced (18-9) to a regular-season Convention USA title final 12 months however missed an opportunity on the event when the season was canceled by COVID-19.
They made certain issues saved going this time.
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Bell opened additional time with a three, then altered two Purdue photographs beneath to assist the Imply Inexperienced flip the additional session into amusing. North Texas scored the primary 11 factors.
Hamlet did most of his harm throughout a pair of elegant Eight-Zero private runs within the second half, every of which stopped the Purdue (17-10) momentum in its tracks. The second was a twisting, spinning, dribbling show of mastery within the paint. It gave North Texas a nine-point lead with 7:45 left.
The Boilermakers scratched again and tied it at 61 on Trevion Williams’ putback with 21 seconds left.
However additional time was no contest, and when it ended, Hamlet tossed the ball into the sparsely stuffed stands at Lucas Oil Stadium, raised his arms above his head and exited, stage proper, to the locker room.
This marked the primary event win within the historical past of North Texas, the group as soon as often known as the Eagles, that formally adopted “Imply Inexperienced” as its nickname in 2000. The moniker first turned a factor when a fired-up cheerleader received artistic at a soccer recreation within the late-’60s; it was then introduced extra into the fold when Hayden Fry, the folksy ballcoach who went on to larger fame at Iowa, got here to the campus in Denton just a few years later.
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However there was no greater title on this evening than Hamlet.
He made all eight of his free throws and likewise had 11 rebounds and 5 assists. His Eight-footer with 2:24 left in OT made it a seven-point recreation and turned the tip right into a free-throw-shooting contest.
Which North Texas gained, too.